PHILADELPHIA, NOV. 12 -- Joseph Cicippio Jr., who once considered traveling to Lebanon to try to rescue his father, Beirut hostage Joseph Cicippio Sr., died Sunday of a heart attack, family members said today.
They said the younger Cicippio, 35, of suburban Lansdale, Pa., had just ended a hospital stay at North Penn on Thursday, relatives said. His co-workers at Shared Medical Systems Corp. in Malvern, Pa., said he had been ill with a virus.
In Norristown, Pa., Thomas Cicippio, brother of Joseph Cicippio Sr., said he had "been trying all night" to call Beirut to inform his brother's wife of her stepson's death, but that telephone lines were jammed or not working.
The son is the third member of the hostage's immediate family to die since the elder Cicippio, the acting comptroller for the American University of Beirut, was kidnapped by gunmen outside his apartment on Sept. 12, 1986.
Joseph Cicippio Sr.'s sister, Rose Abell, died in December 1986, without realizing her last wish of seeing her brother freed. Her husband, William Abell, died 20 months later.
Another sister, Helen Fazio, 70, is being treated for a recurrence of ovarian cancer. "I want Joe home while I am still here," she has said.
At a family vigil held during the 1989 crisis, Joseph Cicippio Jr. said he had briefly planned a rescue attempt, but abandoned the effort because it was "a foregone conclusion" it would fail.
Cicippio Jr. was one of seven children born during his father's first marriage. Before his kidnapping in 1986, the elder Cicippio married a Lebanese woman, Ilham Ghandour Cicippio, who worked as a secretary for the now-closed U.S. Embassy in east Beirut.