Peter Jennings Dies From Lung Cancer

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His titles were anchor and senior editor of World News Tonight, but to his colleagues, Peter Jennings was so much more. He had more than his fair share of natural gifts: an encyclopedic mind, movie star looks, a vast measure of curiosity, and the energy to pursue it to the ends of the earth.

David Westin, President of ABC News, said "because of his background and who he was, brought to our profession a level of curiosity combined with a certain skepticism, that made him a consummate journalist.

He grew up in Canada. Lured south by ABC, he was first made anchor of the evening news here at 27. He left the anchor desk in 1968 to become a foreign correspondent in the Middle East. Jennings brought his own expert knowledge into his decades of interviews

With world leaders his questions could cut straight to the headlines:

In one of the most exhilarating live broadcasts ever devised, Jennings stayed in his anchor chair for 24- hours to help welcome a new millennium. He was among a small group of witnesses who saw Saddam Hussein appear for the first time in an Iraqi Court. And one of only two television journalists to witness the transfer of sovereignty to Iraq. He became an unforgettable presence on the one story that used his reserve.

On April 5 of this year he made an appearance on World News Tonight to explain why he was not reporting on the death of Pope John Paul he had been diagnosed with lung cancer.

The consummate professional, even in that last appearance Peter was always, compassionate, disciplined, clear-eyed. He was the leader who set the tone and the standards for many of this colleagues.