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Longtime NBC News reporter John Palmer dies

Aug. 04, 2013 @ 08:20 AM

WASHINGTON — John Palmer, the longtime correspondent for NBC News who died Saturday after a brief illness, was remembered by former colleagues as a hardworking, gracious reporter who moved easily from war zones to the White House and who brought a reassuring voice to news broadcasts.

Palmer, 77, died Saturday at George Washington University Hospital of pulmonary fibrosis, according to his wife, Nancy.

“God bless John Palmer, tireless reporter, always a gentleman, loving husband and doting father,” former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw wrote on Twitter. He said the death of his friend of nearly 50 years was “heartbreaking.”

Palmer worked for NBC from 1962 to 1990, and then returned to the network from 1994 until 2002. He became a familiar face to viewers of the “Today” show during much of the 1980s, delivering the news in a straightforward, no-nonsense manner at a time when the program often led in the ratings.

NBC News praised Palmer in a statement Saturday as a “brilliant, brave, and tireless journalist who guided viewers through many of the most significant events of the past half-century."

A native of Kingsport, Tenn., Palmer was a graduate of Northwestern University and held a master’s degree from Columbia University.

He got his start as a reporter in Atlanta in 1960, according to a news segment on Palmer that aired on the NBC Nightly News on Saturday, and two years later moved up to the network.