Armen Dilanian, a former veteran journalist with RFE/RL’s Armenian service, has unexpectedly died in the United States at the age of 56.
Dilanian was one of the first Yerevan-based correspondents for the service and helped to found its local bureau shortly after Armenia gained independence in 1992. He covered dramatic developments unfolding in the newly independent republic before joining the RFE/RL center in Munich in 1994.
Together with other Armenian service broadcasters, Dilanian relocated to RFE/RL’s new headquarters in Prague the following year and worked there until moving to California with his family in 2006. He has since moderated news programs of Los Angeles-based Armenian TV stations and worked as a local correspondent for Armenia’s Public Radio.
“Armen Dilanian was a very talented journalist, and his death is a big loss for the Armenian journalist community,” said Harry Tamrazian, director of RFE/RL’s Armenian service. “He had a large audience in Armenia and made a significant contribution to the success of our service,” added Tamrazian.
Armen Koloyan, another longtime member of the service’s Prague team, had worked with Dilanian since the early 1990s. “We colleagues called Armen Dilanian ‘Dilo’ because there were several Armens in our office and we had to tell them apart,” he said.
“Our Dilo would start the day with countless cigarettes and coffee and witty jokes,” recalled Koloyan. “He would then get down to business: daily news, commentary, serious and frank reports on the big world and political, economic and social developments in one of its small parts, Armenia.
“He hated inactivity. Both during and after work he would always do, say or think about something.”
The Armenian service staff are expressing their deepest condolences to Armen Dilanian’s relatives and friends.