Peter Theo Curtis, freed American hostage, speaks for first time

'I suddenly remembered how good the American people are' released hostage Peter Theo Curtis says

Peter Theo Curtis, an American journalist and author who was released from captivity in Syria on Sunday, spoke publicly for the first time Wednesday morning.

"I have learned bit by bit that there have been literally hundreds of people -- brave, determined and big-hearted people all over the world -- working on my release," he said outside his mother's home in Cambridge, Mass. 

Nancy Curtis has thanked the U.S. and Qatari governments along with what she said were “many individuals” who helped negotiate the release of the 45-year-old, who was held for 22 months. It's not clear exactly how his release was secured.

“While the family is not privy to the exact terms that were negotiated, we were repeatedly told by representatives of the Qatari government that they were mediating for Theo’s release on a humanitarian basis without the payment of money,” Nancy Curtis said in a statement.

On Wednesday, Peter Theo Curtis said, "I had no idea so much effort was being expended on my behalf and now having found out I am just overwhelmed with emotion." He added, "I suddenly remembered how good the American people are and what kindness they have in their hearts, and to all those people I say a huge thank you from my heart."

Watch his full statement above.

Los Angeles Times reporter Christi Parsons contributed to this report.

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