Bob Simon, 73, a correspondent for the CBS newsmagazine “60 Minutes,” was killed Wednesday night in a car accident in New York City, authorities said.
CBS News confirmed the report in a statement late Wednesday. CBS News Vice President Chris Licht called Simon “a true legend,” adding: “The tragic loss of Bob Simon is heartbreaking news for the entire CBS family.”
Reporting the news in a special report late Wednesday, a visibly emotional Scott Pelley, anchor of “CBS Evening News,” noted that “Bob’s daughter, Tanya, is a talented producer for ‘60 Minutes.’”
“Tonight, our thoughts are with Tanya and Bob’s family and his many, many friends,” Pelley said.
Simon was the passenger in a hired car that lost control and slammed into another vehicle and a median on 12th Avenue at West 32nd Street in Manhattan at 6:44 p.m. ET, New York police said.
Simon died at St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital. The two drivers suffered minor injuries. Police said the investigation continues and that no one had been arrested.
Simon was a veteran foreign correspondent who covered the Vietnam War from Saigon. In 1991, he and his crew — producer Peter Bluff, cameraman Roberto Alvarez and sound man Juan Caldera — were held captive by Iraqi forces during the first Persian Gulf War.
In “Forty Days,” his 1992 book recounting his captivity, and in interviews at the time, Simon said he and his crew were saved only by the intervention of Mikhail Gorbachev, the leader of what was then the Soviet Union. Had Gorbachev not lobbied his contacts in Baghdad, “I think they would’ve killed us,” Simon told the Los Angeles Times in a 1992 interview. “I think they certainly would have killed me … as a Jew.”
“It’s a terrible loss for all of us at CBS News,” Jeff Fager, executive producer of “60 Minutes,” said in a statement. “It is such a tragedy made worse because we lost him in a car accident, a man who has escaped more difficult situations than almost any journalist in modern times.”
Simon joined CBS News’ London bureau in 1969 and became a “60 Minutes” correspondent in 1996. Especially noted within the industry for the gracefulness of his writing, he was the recipient of 24 Emmy Awards, four Overseas Press Club Awards and three George Foster Peabody Awards.
In addition to his daughter, Simon is survived by his wife, Françoise, of New York.