French freelance photographer Olivier Voisin
French freelance photographer Olivier VoisinAFP file

French freelance photographer Olivier Voisin, who was seriously wounded in Syria on Thursday, has died of his wounds after undergoing surgery in Turkey, the French foreign ministry said, according to AFP. 

"We confirm his death," a ministry spokeswoman said on Sunday.

Voisin, 38, had suffered head and arm injuries from shrapnel when a shell exploded near Idlib in northern Syria.

His death takes the death toll of reporters who have perished in Syria to at least 21, according to a count by AFP and Paris-based media watchdog Reporters Without Borders.

The incident came just a year after Sunday Times journalist Marie Colvin and photojournalist Remi Ochlik were killed when a makeshift media center in the western city of Homs was struck by a Syrian army mortar shell.

Turkish surgeons operated on Voisin on Friday in the border city of Antakya but he remained in critical condition.

In an email to a friend sent on the eve of his tragedy, he acknowledged he had become hooked to the adrenaline of war reporting, which he said "arouses incredible feelings, including the desire to live."

French President Francois Hollande and Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault expressed deep sadness at Voisin's death.

"France once again pays homage to the work of journalists who risk their lives for freedom of expression," Ayrault said in a statement.

Voisin's pictures have been published in major French and British newspapers and he collaborated with AFP in January, providing about a dozen pictures from Aleppo.

Apart from Syria, he also covered news events in Libya, Somalia, Brazil, Haiti, Kenya and the United States.

Voisin was born in South Korea and adopted by a French family.