Curuvija's wife, Branka Prpa, who was pistol-whipped in the attack, said two gunmen dressed in black leather jackets fired several bullets into her husband's back and head. His murder was the first that targeted a member of the independent Serbian media.
Curuvija had visited Washington, D.C., in December 1998, when he told the U.S. Congress' Helsinki Commission that questioning the rule of President Slobodan Milosevic had become tantamount to treason. In March, he was fined and sentenced to five months in jail for "spreading false information," a violation of Serbia's restrictive information law, after he published a story linking the killing of a Belgrade doctor to the Serbian deputy prime minister, Milovan Bojic. Curuvija refused to pay the fine and was appealing the sentence.
Just days before his murder, state television broadcast accusations against Curuvija alleging that he supported NATO's attack on Yugoslavia.