Veteran NBC News correspondent John Palmer died on Saturday at the age of 77. The reporter’s wife, Nancy, confirmed his death at George Washington University Hospital of pulmonary fibrosis.
Palmer worked for NBC from 1962 until 1990, then again from 1994 until 2002. During that time, he covered everything from wars to politics in Washington, D.C.
While there, the NBC News reporter broke the news that the Carter administration in 1980 failed to rescue American hostages being held in Iran.
The network released a statement about Palmer’s death on Saturday, calling him a “brilliant, brave, and tireless journalist who guided viewers through many of the most significant events of the past half-century.” Those events included the civil rights movement and the tragic 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Along with his time as a correspondent, Palmer was also a news anchor on NBC’s Today show between 1982 and 1989, notes CNN. He also served as the anchor of nationally syndicated news program Instant Recall. While there, he interviewed Anwar Sadat, Presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and Ronald Reagan, as well as legendary medical researcher Jonas Salk.
For those who knew him, Palmer was a “terrific journalist” and a good man, who often helped others and presented himself as a welcoming person. Former Atlantic and Bloomberg reporter Jared Keller took to Twitter to mourn John Palmer’s death, saying, “There was no one in the news business kinder than John Palmer. No one.”
When he retired in 2002, Palmer spoke with anchor Brian Williams on NBC’s sister network MSNBC. He appeared satisfied with his career, including the access it allowed him to five of the United States’ presidents. He called himself enriched for being “able to go fishing with jimmy Carter, to go to the movies with Ronald Reagan, and to play golf with Bill Clinton.”
John Palmer is survived by his wife and three grown daughters, all of whom are working in the media industry.