NEW YORK (CNN) -- 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.
"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. ... 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."
Jennings, a native Canadian who became a U.S. citizen in 2003, had said he would continue to host "World News Tonight" when possible. Since the announcement, Gibson and ABC's Elizabeth Vargas have filled in for him as temporary anchors.
The veteran anchorman had said he was determined to fight the disease, citing National Cancer Institute statistics that nearly 10 million Americans are living with cancer. "I have a lot to learn from them, and 'living' is the key word," he said.
Since April 5, when Jennings announced his diagnosis on the news program, he kept his public comments positive. Even during the initial announcement, he said he would be undergoing chemotherapy and joked about losing his hair.
"I wonder if other men and women ask their doctors right away, 'OK, doc, when does the hair go?'" said the immaculately dressed and coifed Jennings.
He admitted being a smoker until about 20 years ago, and said he "was weak and I smoked over 9/11."
http://www.cnn.com/2005/SHOWBIZ/TV/08/0 ... index.html
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