RIP CBS News Correspondent Bob Simon, 1941-2015

60 Minutes
Getty Image

Longtime CBS correspondent and 60 Minutes contributor Bob Simon has passed away at the age of 73. The award winning journalist was involved in a car accident on Manhattan’s West Side Highway when the cab he was riding in struck another vehicle. From CBS New York:

CBS2 sources said Simon was in the back seat of a livery cab that lost control as it headed south on the highway. The driver struck a Mercedes, and then struck the middle barrier of the highway, sources said.

The driver of the livery cab was also transported to hospital with non-life threatening injuries, sources said. The driver of the Mercedes was uninjured.

Simon’s career with CBS spanned 45 years and featured reports from nearly every part of the globe, no matter the circumstances. He joined 60 minutes in 1996, soon becoming senior foreign correspondent for the TV news magazine. During his career, he famously interviewed radical cleric Muqtada al Sadr, covered World War II POW Louis Zamperini’s journey to Nagano, Japan for the Winter Olympics, and was still providing quality work up to the weekend before his passing. From CBS:

Simon’s five-decade career took him through most major overseas conflicts spanning from the late 1960s to the present. He joined CBS News in 1967 as a New York-based reporter and assignment editor, covering campus unrest and inner city riots. Simon also worked in CBS News’ Tel Aviv bureau from 1977-81, and worked in Washington D.C. as the network’s State Department correspondent.

But Simon’s career in war reporting was extensive, beginning in Vietnam. While based in Saigon from 1971-72, his reports on the war — and particularly the Hanoi 1972 spring offensive — won an Overseas Press Club award award for the Best Radio Spot News for coverage of the end of the conflict. Simon was there for the end of the conflict and was aboard one of the last helicopters out of Saigon in 1975.

He also reported on the violence in Northern Ireland in from 1969-71 and also from war zones in Portugal, Cyprus, the Falkland Islands, the Persian Gulf, Yugoslavia and American military actions in Grenada, Somalia and Haiti.

Probably the most memorable experience from his career was his detention during the first Gulf War, a story he told in the book Forty Days from 1992:

“In addition to several short detentions, close calls and wounds, he was captured by Iraqi forces near the Saudi-Kuwaiti border during the opening days of the Gulf War in January 1991. He and the other three members of CBS News’ coverage team spent 40 days in Iraqi prisons…(via)

Simon’s passing is another hit to television news and journalism this week, and possibly the most painful for those who followed his career. Hopefully his family can focus on the positive influence of his career despite the sudden loss they’ve experience. Rest in peace.

(Via CBS / CBS New York)