Bernard Shaw, the award-winning broadcast television journalist who served as chief anchor of CNN for two decades, died Wednesday, the head of the network confirmed in a statement.
He was 82.
Shaw was CNN’s first chief anchor when the 24/7 cable news channel launched on June 1, 1980, instantly setting a standard of consummate professionalism and soon earning the trust of millions of viewers.
Funeral services will be held for family members and invited guests, with a public memorial service planned later, Shaw’s family said in the statement to CNN.
“The Shaw family requests complete privacy at this time,” they said.
Chris Licht, the chairman and CEO of CNN, expressed his condolences to Shaw’s wife, Linda, and their children, writing in a statement; “Bernie was a CNN original.”
“Even after he left CNN, Bernie remained a close member of our CNN family providing our viewers with context about historic events as recently as last year,” Licht said.
Shaw covered some of the landmark stories of the last three decades, including the student uprising in Tiananmen Square in Beijing in 1989, the 1994 Northridge earthquake in California, the death of Princess Diana in 1997 and the 2000 presidential race.
He was dubbed one of the “Boys of Baghdad,” a group of reporters who chronicled the start of the Persian Gulf War beginning Jan. 16, 1991, from a hotel room in Iraq alongside colleagues Peter Arnett and John Holliman, according to a biography on CNN’s website.
He was widely respected for delivering important news stories with calm authority and gravitas. In tributes on social media Thursday, current and former CNN personalities praised him as a trailblazer and an inspiration to other journalists.
Shaw was inducted into the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame (1999) and received two lifetime achievements honors, from the Edward R. Murrow Awards (2001) and the National Association of Black Journalists (2007).
Bernard Shaw was born May 22, 1940, in Chicago to Edgar Shaw, a railroad employee and house painter, and Camilla (Murphy) Shaw, a housekeeper.