Ed Bradley, the award-winning "60 Minutes" correspondent who was wounded while covering the Vietnam War and later became CBS's first black White House correspondent, died Thursday. He was 65.
Bradley died of leukemia at Mount Sinai hospital, CBS News announced.
Bradley joined "60 Minutes," the prestigious news show, in 1981, 10 years after he started with the network as a stringer in Paris.
Producer Don Hewitt, in his book "Minute by Minute," was quick to appreciate Bradley's work once he joined the "60 Minutes" crew.
"He's so good and so savvy and so lights up the tube every time he's on it that I wonder what took us so long," Hewitt wrote.
Bradley's consummate skills as a broadcast journalist and his distinctive body of work were recognized with numerous awards, including 19 Emmys, the latest for a segment that reported the reopening of the 50-year-old racial murder case of Emmett Till.
He was honored with the Lifetime Achievement award from the National Association of Black Journalists. Three of his Emmys came at the 2003 awards: a lifetime achievement Emmy; one for a 2002 "60 Minutes" report on brain cancer patients and for a "60 Minutes II" report about sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church.
Bradley grew up in a tough section of Philadelphia, where he once recalled that his parents worked 20-hour days at two jobs apiece. "I was told, 'You can be anything you want, kid,'" he once told an interviewer. "When you hear that often enough, you believe it."
After graduating from Cheney State College, he launched his career as a DJ and news reporter for a Philadelphia radio station in 1963, moving to New York's WCBS radio four years later.
He joined CBS News as a stringer in the Paris bureau in 1971, transferring a year later to the Saigon bureau during the Vietnam War; he was wounded while on assignment in Cambodia. Bradley moved to the Washington bureau in June 1974, 14 months after he was named a CBS News correspondent.
He later returned to Vietnam and Cambodia.
After Southeast Asia, Bradley returned to the United States and covered Jimmy Carter's successful campaign for the White House. He followed Carter to Washington, becoming CBS' first black White House correspondent — a prestigious position that Bradley did not enjoy.
He jumped from Washington to doing pieces for "CBS Reports," traveling to Cambodia, China, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia. It was his Emmy-winning 1979 work on a story about Vietnamese boat people, refugees from the war-torn nation, that eventually landed his work on "60 Minutes."