Peter Jennings, 67, prime-time anchorman for ABC News for more than two decades, has died of lung cancer at his home.
The ABC newsman, 67, could keep up his end of any conversation. He had Bond-like good looks and wore a tux well. But his fondness for cigarettes led to lung cancer that proved deadly for the World News Tonight anchor, who died Sunday just months after he told viewers that he had the disease.
Adjectives such as sophisticated, witty and urbane attached themselves to Peter Jennings as if he lived life in a tuxedo, a cigarette dangling from his lips, like James Bond.
Jennings was the last of the modern-day Big Three network anchors — NBC's Tom Brokaw retired in December 2004 and CBS' Dan Rather stepped down in March. Some observers think that as network news viewership continues to slide, the iconic status of anchors has become a thing of the past, USA Today informs.
Of the three anchors, Jennings was perhaps the most natural broadcaster, as ABC's Barbara Walters said during a midnight broadcast on ABC announcing his death.
"No one could ad lib like Peter," Walters said. ABC's Ted Koppel recalled that he bore a resemblance to Roger Moore's James Bond.
Like 007, Jennings was worldly and smart. He was known as a demanding and exacting newsman and anchor. But he owed none of it to formal schooling and all of it to ABC News. He spent 20 years traveling the globe for the network starting in the 1970s when ABC made him the youngest anchor ever, at age 26, in London.
Jennings is survived by his wife Kayce Freed, his two children Elizabeth, 25 and Christopher, 23 and his sister, Sarah Jennings, Reuters reports.
An explosion of household gas occurred in a nine-storeyed apartment building in the city of Shakhty, the Rostov region of Russia. The blast destroyed two storeys of the building