Anton Hammerl, in an undated photo. (AP)

Hammerl had been believed to be alive for the last 44 days, but had been injured critically in the stomach by Moammar Gaddafi’s forces weeks earlier, in an “extremely remote location in the Libyan desert.” He died April 5, according to the family.

“From the moment Anton disappeared in Libya we have lived in hope as the Libyan officials assured us that they had Anton,” the statement read. “It is intolerably cruel that Gaddafi loyalists have known Anton’s fate all along and chose to cover it up.”

News of Hammerl’s death came only after Libya released journalists Clare Gillis and James Foley, who were with him when he came under attack on April 5.

“Anton cried ‘help,’” and said he had been hit, the journalists told Hammerl’s family of that day.

The South African government blamed Libya for “lying” to them for 44 days about Hammerl’s fate.

Hammerl, who is a dual South African and Austrian national, covered the violence in South Africa before the first post-apartheid election but more recently had moved on to a corporate career. He was drawn back to photographing breaking news when he heard about the Libya uprisings. His works was published by newspapers like Johannesburg’s Star, which has followed his story daily since he went missing.

Hammerl is survived by his wife, a 7-year-old child, and a newborn son.

Just before he was captured by Gaddafi forces, Hammerl uploaded photos to his online archive. You can view them here.

On April 20, photographers Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros were killed in the Libyan city of Misurata. Libyan government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim said Libya holds no other reporters.