Veteran CBS newsman Morley Safer died at age 84 in Manhattan, New York on Thursday, CBS News reports.
Safer was a contributor on 60 Minutes for 46 years, which is the longest run anyone has ever had on primetime network television. The Canadian-born journalist announced his retirement just last week, and CBS aired an hour-long special on Sunday, May 15 in his honor.
Jeff Fager, executive producer of 60 Minutes, confirmed Safer's death on Twitter, writing: "Morley Safer has died. A masterful storyteller, inspiration to many of us and a wonderful friend."
"Morley was one of the most important journalists in any medium, ever," CBS Chairman and CEO Leslie Moonves, told CBS News. "He broke ground in war reporting and made a name that will forever be synonymous with 60 Minutes. He was also a gentleman, a scholar, a great raconteur - all of those things and much more to generations of colleagues, his legion of friends, and his family, to whom all of us at CBS offer our sincerest condolences over the loss of one of CBS' and journalism's greatest treasures."
"Morley Safer helped create the CBS News we know today. No correspondent had more extraordinary range, from war reporting to coverage of every aspect of modern culture," CBS News President David Rhodes said in a statement. "His writing alone defined original reporting. Everyone at CBS News will sorely miss Morley."
Safer won 12 Emmy Awards over the span of his impressive career in television. In 1965, his report on the abuse committed by U.S. military forces in Vietnam was considered a breakthrough in broadcast journalism, and was credited for helping to turn the public's opinion about the country's involvement in the war. He was also one of the first reporters from a U.S. news organization to broadcast from inside Mao Zedong’s Communist China.
Upon announcing his retirement last week, Safer said, "It's been a wonderful run, but the time has come to say goodbye to all of my friends at CBS and the dozens of people who kept me on the air."