Tyler Ziegel 1982-2012

Ty on the land of his dreams, 2008

Iraq war veteran and U.S. Marine Tyler Ziegel, who was wounded in a bomb blast and overcame the most horrific injuries, died Christmas Day after slipping on ice in a parking lot of a local restaurant near his hometown in Illinois. He was 30 years old.

I photographed him in 2006 and 2008 and became friends with his mom, Becky. Some people find it too difficult to look at the pictures maybe because his facial injuries were so severe. I kept wanting to look at him. His strength, his odd and dark sense of humor, his lack of self-consciousnesses in front of a camera, and his determination to live a “normal” life was amazing and inspiring to me. My deepest sympathies in these sad days to the Ziegels and the many Marines, caregivers, relatives and friends who loved him.

Photo ¬©Nina Berman, 2oo8 “Ty on the land of his dreams”
All Rights Reserved

9 thoughts on “Tyler Ziegel 1982-2012”

  1. This is such TRULY tragic news and I am so very sorry, feeling great sympathy for the Ziegel family. My thoughts are truly with you at this time. I am a total outsider except for knowing the Ziegel’s thru Nina’s B’s pictures. Everyone should take some time & grasp the resilience this family has, as they have endured such an overabundance of realistic hard hitting extreme tragedies.

    Over the years the Ziegel family have had an endurance level of Superman & Superwoman with an amazing ability to draw within one another, ‘positive coping mechanisms’ required for personal inner strength. This is magnificent & the best gift any human being can acquire.

    The Ziegel family has been able to walk thru their hardships enough to hold onto humor, laugh & see into the sunshine/sunlight of the days, reflect by moonlight, to hold onto a normal life with friends, to be & feel a part of a true community.

    U.S. Marine Tyler Ziegel was a man who endured much in his short lifetime, yet very much loved and able to live LIFE, post Marine life. Being a U.S. Marine has got to be one of the hardest jobs on this planet. Yet being the Ziegel family at this moment, must be tougher, having to understand the cruelty of permanent loss. They have endured quite enough, so I pray this MAN, U.S. Marine Tyler Ziegel, this Marine, Rest Peacefully, and never EVER be forgotten. My personal sympathies go out to the entire Ziegel family. Your son has touched many hearts world wide.

    From Illinois,

  2. Beautiful tribute. I am from his hometown. I didn’t know Ty, but my dad knows him and his family. This makes us all very sad. Thank you for sharing.

  3. My heart goes out to the Ziegel family. I met Ty and his Mom briefly at the Fisher House in San Antonio, Tx. You would be hard pressed to find a man with more resilience. My Marine is the same age as Ty and I think that made him and what he was going through really hit home for me. Semper Fi Marine, job well done. Ty and his family were and are an inspiration to a lot of people. RIP Ty.

  4. Hey Nina, I directed Ty in the movie Malorie’s Final Score this August. It was his first trip to New York City and he absolutely loved the city and the experience on set. He was smart and it was a pleasure working with him… RIP. (The movie’s facebook site features a photo with him having fun on set.)

  5. To the parents I have a heavy heart hearing of your sons passing. I to have felt that pain.I am so happy for you to have gotten those few years with him.We are blessed and we know it every time we see them smile. My Michael is a marine,he was takin from us 10 years now,I still remember him walking in the door the hugs I remember the most. Hang on to thoughts it will make it feel like he is in the room.And then ice. Your son it sounds like he had a big heart. RIP TY

  6. I LOVE this picture of Tyler. I was Tyler’s girlfriend for the last few months of his life and this is the first time I have seen this photo and it’s beautiful. He loved his land. One night after dinner together he drove me all over his property in his truck. It was one of many great memories. Thank you for sharing this photo.

  7. R.I.P. Tyler – what a tragic loss.
    I followed a life-long dream, and went to New York City in 2010. I was there with my mother, who is an art curator, and we spent every day feasting on Museums, and concerts.
    Yet, to this day the most poignant moment of the trip was seeing your series of photographs of Tyler at the Whitney Museum. I don’t recall ever been struck by so many emotions all at once.
    The indelible memory of Tyler/these photographs will remain with me for a long time.

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