Award-winning broadcast journalist Leroy Sievers, a longtime producer for ABC News’ Nightline who chronicled his two-and-a-half-year bout with cancer for National Public Radio on blog “My Cancer,” died Friday at his home in Maryland. He was 53.
Sievers was executive producer of Nightline from 2001-05. He joined the program in 1991 after nine years as a producer and bureau chief for CBS News.
A close collaborator and friend of former Nightline anchor Ted Koppel, Sievers embedded with Koppel during the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq and later proposed the program’s 2004 tribute to the Iraq war dead.
Sievers was first diagnosed with colon cancer in 2001. He underwent surgery and treatment, but the cancer returned in his brain and lung in 2005. Given six months to live, Sievers began blogging and delivering on-air commentaries about his experience for NPR. My Cancer inspired a passionate community of fellow cancer patients and others touched by the disease. (Click here to listen to his first commentary from February 2006.)
In May 2007, he joined Elizabeth Edwards and cyclist Lance Armstrong for a live town-hall meeting for Koppel's program on Discovery Channel.
In a tribute to Sievers on NPR.org, Koppel wrote: "Cancer was not in Leroy's plans. But he turned his battle with cancer into the most dramatic, the most moving and the most important story of his life. He touched so many of you who are fighting your own battles. He inspired courage not simply by what he wrote in his blog every day, but by who he was: larger than life while he walked among us, and destined to be even larger in our memories.
Sievers is survived by his wife, Laurie Singer, a producer for NBC News.