By Debbie Emery WWII Hero and Unbroken inspiration Louis Zamperini has died at age 97, according to a spokesperson for Universal Pictures. A statement released by the studio on Thursday morning included a message from his family, which read: "Having overcome insurmountable odds at every turn in his life, Olympic runner and World War II hero Louis Zamperini has never broken down from a challenge. "He recently faced the greatest challenge of his life with a life-threatening case of pneumonia. His indomitable courage and fighting spirit were never more apparent than in these last days." Angelina Jolie, who directed the 2014 film about his life based on the best-selling book Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, immediately expressed her loss. Universal Pictures, which will release the film adaptation of Zamperini’s incredible story on December 25, 2014, went on to say in a statement: "We are so profoundly sad at this moment and all of our thoughts and prayers are with the Zamperini family. Louis was truly one of a kind.