Following a lifelong career with ABC, and 2 decades as the anchor of "World News Tonight," Peter Jennings succumbed to lung cancer at the age of 67.
Coined the "center of gravity" by TV Guide for his coverage of the events surrounding 9/11, Canadian-born Jennings began his media career as a youngster. At age 9, he hosted "Peter's Program," a children's radio show on CBC. From the age of 26, as the youngest-ever network news anchor, Jennings became a household figure, bringing coverage of international news to the privacy of our homes.
On April 5, 2005, Peter Jennings announced his diagnosis of lung cancer to the world in a taped message -- one that would become the last broadcast of his career. To answer the question I'm sure he anticipated, he stated: "Yes, I was a smoker until about 20 years ago, and I was weak and I smoked over 9/11."
What were his thoughts? Scheduled to begin chemotherapy the next week, he said "when does the hair go?" Hair loss can be a heartbreaking reality on top of the decisions and rigors of treatment. As far as support, he stated: "Hundreds of you have been my family. It feels good to have such a family right now."
On August 7, 2005, 4 months after his announcement, Peter Jennings passed away surrounded by family at his home in New York.
In memory of Jennings, it feels imperative that we give lung cancer the coverage it deserves. Coverage that has lacked due to the stigma of lung cancer.