Peter Jennings, the suave, Canadian-born broadcaster who delivered the news to Americans each night in five separate decades, has died at age 67.
Jennings, who announced in April that he had lung cancer, died yesterday at his apartment, fellow anchor Charles Gibson announced on the network shortly before midnight.
“Peter has been our colleague, our friend, and our leader in so many ways. None of us will be the same without him,” Westin said.
With Tom Brokaw and Dan Rather, Jennings was part of a triumvirate that dominated US network news for more than two decades, through the birth of cable news and the internet. His smooth delivery and years of international reporting experience made Jennings particularly popular among urban dwellers.
Jennings was the face of ABC News whenever a big story broke. He logged more than 60 hours on the air during the week of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, offering a soothing sense of continuity during a troubled time.
“There are a lot of people who think our job is to reassure the public every night that their home, their community and their nation is safe,” he told author Jeff Alan.
“I don’t subscribe to that at all. I subscribe to leaving people with essentially – sorry it’s a cliché – a rough draft of history. Some days it’s reassuring, some days it’s absolutely destructive.”
Jennings’ announcement four months ago that he would begin treatment for lung cancer came as a shock.
“I will continue to do the broadcast,” he said, his voice husky, in a taped message that night. “On good days, my voice will not always be like this.”
But although Jennings occasionally came to the office, he never again appeared on the air.