Parents of beheaded journalist: He was a martyr for freedom

The video of a journalist being beheaded by the Islamic State (ISIS) shocked the world after it appeared online on Tuesday.

But none were more shocked than the parents of James Foley, 40, who had been missing since he was seized in Syria in November 2012.

Foley's father, John told reporters outside their New Hampshire home: "It haunts me, how much pain he was in and how cruel this method of execution is as opposed to so many others." 

He choked back tears as he said: "It's inhuman. It testifies to his courage. He was courageous to the end."

Foley's parents also chose to remember their son as a brave man, who was extremely passionate about his job.

The freelance journalist went back to school at the age of 35 to complete a degree in journalism.

Following that, he reported in Libya, where he was kidnapped for 44 days before he was released.

His mother Diane said: "James felt compelled to bear witness to people in conflict.

"He died for that compassion and love," she added.

His father said about his son: "We believe he was a martyr - a martyr for freedom."

Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama said the world was appalled by the merciless execution.

"No just god would stand for what they did yesterday," he said.