Award-winning television and radio journalist Ed Bradley has died at the age of 65. The veteran journalist was a long-time correspondent on CBS' 60 Minutes.
Bradley, who had won 19 Emmy awards over the course of his career, continued to work for 60 Minutes despite a battle with leukemia and undergoing heart surgery last year. He died of complications from leukemia this morning at Mt. Sinai hospital in Manhattan.
Bradley spent almost 43 years with the network, first with the documentary unit and Evening News and then 60 Minutes. CBS says that one of his last segments for the show was a piece on the Duke Lacrosse team rape case, where "he broke new ground with the first interviews with the accused in a story that made headlines last month."
Born in Philadelphia June 22, 1941, Bradley received his bachelor's degree from Cheyney State College in Cheyney, Pennsylvania. After college, he worked as a 6th grade teacher before landing an unpaid job as a news reporter for WDAS-FM in Philadelphia.
During a stint in Paris, Bradley was hired as a stringer for CBS News. He then worked in Saigon before being transferred back to the United States. Among many other assignments, Bradley covered Jimmy Carter's presidential campaign in 1976. The two became good friends, according to CBS Chief Washington Correspondent Bob Schieffer.
In 1981, Bradley replaced Dan Rather as a correspondent for 60 Minutes. Bradley marked his 25th anniversary with the program in the 2000-2001 season, and continued to report for the program until the time of his death.
CBS Chief Washington Correspondent Bob Schieffer called Bradley "a great observer" who delighted in people but who also saw "the irony and absurdity of human nature." Schieffer said the two had been close friends and colleagues since 1976, when Bradley was covering Carter and Schieffer President Ford.
Schieffer said the last time he saw Bradley was Schieffer's last day in the Evening News anchor chair Aug. 31. "He had come by early to wish me well because he was going on assignment and couldn't be there [for the broadcast]," said Schieffer.
"Ed Bradley was the coolest man I ever knew," says Schieffer. "He knew everybody from Jimmy Carter to Jimmy Buffett, and everybody like him. When people needed help, he was the softest touch in town, and never said anything about it."
Dan Rather added in a statement: "With the passing of Ed Bradley we have lost one of America's best. As a compassionate, sensitive person, as a gentle but strong man, as a lover of life and a great professional, he was an example of all a conscientious and dedicated journalist can be."
Bradley received the Radio-Television News Directors Association's Leonard Zeidenberg First Amendment Award in 2000, named after the former chief Washington correspondent for B&C.
In his acceptance remarks, RTNDA reminds us, Bradley "recalled that he had been working as a teacher in Philadelphia and had gone to a civil rights demonstration, when he decided he would rather cover the demonstration than be in it. 'It was that day that I made the choice about what I wanted to do with my life,” he said. “I knew that day that to be a reporter is what I really wanted.'
RTNDA, which was mourning Bradley's loss Thursday, also points out that Bradley once said: “If I arrived at the Pearly Gates and St. Peter said, ‘What have you done to deserve to get in here,’ I’d say, ‘Did you see my Lena Horne story?’”