Legendary TV news anchor Walter Cronkite dies

Sun Jul 19, 2009 5:51am EDT
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By Michelle Nichols

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Former CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite, whose authoritative delivery of news events from the John F. Kennedy assassination to the Apollo moon landing and Vietnam War, made him "the most trusted man in America," died on Friday at age 92.

Cronkite died in New York after an illness, CBS said. His family issued a statement weeks ago that he had been suffering for some years with cerebrovascular disease and was not expected to recuperate.

His death coincided with the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, which took the first astronauts to the moon. Cronkite was a passionate chronicler of the space program and anniversary celebrations of Apollo 11 have featured frequent rebroadcasts of his coverage of the historic moon landing.

"He was the consummate television newsman," said Don Hewitt, a longtime CBS News executive and creator of the long-running "60 Minutes" news program. "He had all the credentials to be a writer, an editor, a broadcaster. There was only one Walter Cronkite and there may never be another one."

President Barack Obama said Cronkite "was someone we could trust to guide us through the most important issues of the day; a voice of certainty in an uncertain world. He was family. He invited us to believe in him, and he never let us down."

Former President George W. Bush called Cronkite "an icon of American journalism."

For nearly 20 years, millions of Americans tuned in to the "CBS Evening News" to hear the day's major events as reported by Cronkite, whose avuncular manner and deep voice made his show the top-rated news program from 1969 until he retired in 1981 and was replaced by Dan Rather.

Cronkite's demeanor inspired the nickname "Uncle Walter" and when he signed off his newscasts by saying, "And that's the way it is," few doubted him.   Continued...

<p>Former CBS news anchor Walter Cronkite mans the helm on the USS Constitution for her historic voyage under sail, in this July 21, 1997 file photo. REUTERS/Terry A. Ironsides/U.S. Navy/Files</p>