Bob Simon, acclaimed CBS “60 Minutes” correspondent and a sentinel of ambitious journalism died Wednesday night in Manhattan when the taxi he was riding in slammed into metal lane dividers after rear ending a stopped car.
Simon, 73, was transported to St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital in New York City but suffered fatal head and chest injuries. The driver of the taxi sustained broken limbs but is in stable condition along with the driver of the other car. A law enforcement official told Wall Street Journal that the ongoing investigation hints that speed may have been a factor in the crash and no substance abuse was suspected. So far no one is in custody.
With a career in journalism spanning more than four decades, five wars, and sixty-seven countries, Simon constantly forged boundaries for war, crisis, and overseas reporting.
Reporting that earned more than 40 major awards, including 27 Emmys, four Peabody Awards, and more recently the Special President’s Lifetime Achievement award from the Overseas Press Club, his work and ambition chronicled historical events for thousands world wide.
A Bronx native, Simon began his 47-year career at CBS in 1967 after graduating Phi Beta Kappa from Brandeis University in 1962 with a degree in history. Here he covered campus unrest and inner city riots prior to being assigned overseas. From 1971 to 1977 he worked out of the London and Saigon bureaus before eventually moving back to the US where in 1987 he was named CBS News’ Chief Middle Eastern correspondent. During this time he covered everything from violence in Northern Ireland to war zones in Portugal, Cyprus, Yugoslavia, American military actions in Grenada, and notably the end of the Vietnam War where he boarded one of the last helicopters to leave, according to CBS.
Perhaps his most known story would be his coverage of the early days of the Persian Gulf War in 1991, where Simon along with three CBS News colleagues were imprisoned and tortured for 40 days, an experience he wrote about in his book, “Forty Days”. But even this experience didn’t soil his journalistic pursuits. He returned to Baghdad only two years later to cover the American bombing of Iraq and ever since then has covered major events like the Olympics and the Arab Spring.
Simon continuously sought to discover and cover events that left the world in limbo, wars that were intangible to most people’s daily lives, and brought worldwide issues into the homes of many through his 19 seasons as a 60 Minutes correspondent.
“Bob was a reporter’s reporter. He was driven by a natural curiosity that took him all over the world covering every kind of story imaginable,” said 60 Minutes Executive Producer Jeff Fager in a statement.
At the time of his death Simon and his daughter Tanya, a “60 Minutes” producer, were working on a story about the Ebola virus and possible cures to be featured on Sunday’s “60 Minutes” broadcast.
Simon is survived by his wife, Françoise, their daughter, Tanya, and his grandson Jack.