Peter Jennings Dies of Lung Cancer, Aged 67
Peter Jennings, who did two tours of duty as ABC News anchorman, died last night of lung cancer.
Nearly four months to the day since he announced in a hoarse voice on his evening newscast that he had been diagnosed with lung cancer, longtime ABC “World News Tonight” anchor Peter Jennings died Sunday, according to the ABC News network. He was 67.
The solemn announcement was made late Sunday by “Good Morning America” co-host Charles Gibson, who said Jennings died in his New York City apartment. His wife, Kayce, his children Elizabeth and Christopher, and his sister were at his side, Gibson said. He read a statement from the family that said: “Peter died with his family around him, without pain and in peace. He knew he had lived a good life.”
At a time when all three U.S. major broadcast networks saw their evening news anchor spots change hands in less than a year, Jennings’ departure was a surprise. Both NBC’s Tom Brokaw and CBS’ Dan Rather announced their plans well in advance, but Jennings’ illness forced a quick decision.
In a written statement Sunday to ABC News staff, network President Dave Westin said: “It is with great sadness I write to say that Peter Jennings passed away earlier this evening. For four decades, he has been our colleague, our friend, and our leader in so many ways. None of us will be the same without him.
While I haven’t watched a regular network newscast in years, I grew up watching Walter Cronkite and then the family switched to ABC when Dan Rather took over. Self-inflicted though it was, this is still quite sad.
His ABC News bio has been updated with a breaking news blurb about his death but is still written in the present tense.
Peter Jennings is the anchor and senior editor of ABC’s “World News Tonight” where he has established a reputation for independence and excellence in broadcast journalism. He is the network’s principal anchor for breaking news, election coverage and special events.
As one of America’s most distinguished journalists, Peter Jennings has reported many of the pivotal events that have shaped our world. He was in Berlin in the 1960s when the Berlin Wall was going up, and there in the ’90s when it came down. He covered the civil rights movement in the southern United States during the 1960s, and the struggle for equality in South Africa during the 1970s and ’80s. He was there when the Voting Rights Act was signed in 1965, and on the other side of the world when South Africans voted for the first time. He has worked in every European nation that once was behind the Iron Curtain. He was there when the independent political movement Solidarity was born in a Polish shipyard, and again when Poland’s communist leaders were forced from power. And he was in Hungary, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Romania and throughout the Soviet Union to record first the repression of communism and then its demise. He was one of the first reporters to go to Vietnam in the 1960s, and went back to the killing fields of Cambodia in the 1980s to remind Americans that, unless they did something, the terror would return.
The announcment of his death from the network:
Peter Jennings Dies at 67
ABC News Anchor Peter Jennings died today at his home in New York City. He was 67. On April 5, Jennings announced he had been diagnosed with lung cancer. He is survived by his wife, Kayce Freed, his two children, Elizabeth, 25, and Christopher, 23, and his sister, Sarah Jennings. “Peter died with his family around him, without pain and in peace. He knew he’d lived a good life,” his wife and children said in a statement.
In announcing Jennings’ death to his ABC colleagues, News President David Westin wrote: “For four decades, Peter has been our colleague, our friend, and our leader in so many ways. None of us will be the same without him. As you all know, Peter learned only this spring that the health problem he’d been struggling with was lung cancer. With Kayce, he moved straight into an aggressive chemotherapy treatment. He knew that it was an uphill struggle. But he faced it with realism, courage, and a firm hope that he would be one of the fortunate ones. In the end, he was not.
We will have many opportunities in the coming hours and days to remember Peter for all that he meant to us all. It cannot be overstated or captured in words alone. But for the moment, the finest tribute we can give is to continue to do the work he loved so much and inspired us to do.”
Previously: Peter Jennings has Lung Cancer
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