Pioneering Journalist Cokie Roberts Dies at 75

By Contributing Writer - September 17, 2019

Distinguished ABC News journalist Cokie Roberts, one of the most influential female broadcasters in history, died Tuesday due to complications from breast cancer. She was 75.

Roberts was a founding member of Moffitt Cancer Center’s national Board of Advisors, joining in November 2005 at the invitation of her good friend and ABC News colleague Sam Donaldson. For the past two years, she was the host of Moffitt’s Business of Biotech conference, expertly interviewing world-renowned scientists onstage.

“While we know that Cokie will be remembered around the world as an exceptional and groundbreaking journalist, we will remember her here at Moffitt as a good friend and as a fierce adversary of cancer,” said Moffitt President and CEO Alan F. List, M.D. “Cokie was generous in her time and thoughts with the cancer center, and we will always be grateful for the time we were able to spend with her.”

In her more than 40 years in broadcasting, she has won countless awards, including three Emmys. She has been inducted into the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame, and was highlighted by the American Women in Radio and Television as one of the 50 greatest women in the history of broadcasting. In addition to her reporting, Roberts has written six New York Times bestsellers, most dealing with the roles of women in U.S. history.

Former President Barack Obama and wife Michelle Obama acknowledged Roberts for rising to leadership roles in journalism at a time when the field was “dominated by men.”

“Michelle and I are sad to hear about the passing of Cokie Roberts,” the 44th president said in a statement. “She was a trailblazing figure; a role model to young women at a time when the profession was still dominated by men; a constant over forty years of a shifting media landscape and changing world, informing voters about the issues of our time and mentoring young journalists every step of the way.”

Roberts holds more than 25 honorary degrees and serves on the boards of several nonprofit institutions. Former President George W. Bush appointed her to his Council on Service and Civic Participation. In 2008, the Library of Congress named her a “Living Legend,” one of the very few Americans to have attained that honor. She is the mother of two and grandmother of six.


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