Fort Collins icon and ex-hostage Tom Sutherland died Friday night at his home at the age of 85.

Sutherland was freed from 6½ years of captivity in Beirut on Nov. 18, 1991. The Scotland-born professor was on leave from Colorado State University and serving as dean of agriculture at the American University of Beirut when he was captured near his Beirut home with 53 other civilian hostages on June 9, 1985, by Islamic militants. He spent 2,354 days in captivity.

He returned to Fort Collins on Dec. 1 that year.

“He just passed away so peacefully,” said Jean Sutherland, Tom’s wife, in a telephone interview Saturday afternoon. “That’s just the way he wanted to.”

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