Walter Cronkite, known as the "most trusted man in America" as CBS News anchor, died at age 92 last night. The NY Times' obituary states, "From 1962 to 1981, Mr. Cronkite was a nightly presence in American homes and always a reassuring one, guiding viewers through national triumphs and tragedies alike, from moonwalks to war, in an era when network news was central to many people’s lives." His son told the Times that the cause of death was complications from dementia, while the AP reports, "Cronkite’s longtime chief of staff, Marlene Adler, said Cronkite died at 7:42 p.m. at his Manhattan home surrounded by family. She said the cause of death was cerebral vascular disease."
CBS News has many remembrance from colleagues: CBS Chairman Les Moonves said, "He was a great broadcaster and a gentleman whose experience, honesty, professionalism and style defined the role of anchor and commentator. For almost two exciting and turbulent decades during the 1960s and 1970s he helped inform our nation, and bring us together. In so doing, he transcended his field to become the most trusted man in America," while Don Hewitt, 60 Minutes creator and Cronkite's first executive producer for the CBS Evening News, said, "How many news organizations get the chance to bask in the sunshine of a half-century of Edward R. Murrow followed by a half century of Walter Cronkite?” And here's Katie Couric's announcement of Cronkite's death:
Cronkite, who was born in Saint Joseph, Missouri, first worked as a radio announcer and then a UPI wire service correspondent, covering World War II. He joined CBS in 1950, becoming the Evening News' anchor in 1962. The AP reports that Cronkite "valued accuracy, objectivity and understated compassion. He expressed liberal views in more recent writings but said he had always aimed to be fair and professional in his judgments on the air."
President Obama said of Cronkite's passing, "His rich baritone reached millions of living rooms every night, and in an industry of icons, Walter set the standard by which all others have been judged. But Walter was always more than just an anchor. He was family. He invited us to believe in him, and he never let us down. Through it all, he never lost the integrity he gained growing up in the heartland," while Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who befriended Cronkite with her husband former President Bill Clinton in the 1990s, said, "It's a great time to look back and think about someone who played such a major role in explaining what was going on and did it in a calm, fact-based way without embellishments that too often get in the way of really understanding what's going on."