Director Joel Souza has issued a statement as he recovers from injuries sustained in an accidental on-set shooting, which led to the death of his co-worker, cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.

The 42-year-old director of photography died after being shot by a prop gun that cast member and co-producer Alec Baldwin fired on the set of Souza’s film Rust on a New Mexico ranch on Thursday, Oct. 21. Souza, 48 was treated in a hospital and released. The incident is under investigation by police.

“I am devastated by the loss of Halyna, my friend and colleague,” the director stated in a statement to NBC News Saturday, Oct. 22 in his first public comments on the shooting. “She was kind, vibrant and incredibly talented. She fought for every inch of the shoot and always encouraged me to be better.  My thoughts and prayers go out to her family in this most difficult time.”

He continued, “I am humbled, grateful, and touched by the outpourings in affection we have gotten from our filmmaking communities, the peoples of Santa Fe, the hundreds of strangers that have reached out…It’ll surely aid me in my recovery.”