Iconic CNN ‘First Chief Anchor’ Bernard Shaw Dies at 82

An iconic figure who served as CNN's first chief anchor, Bernard Shaw, has died at the age of 82. Shaw

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An iconic figure who served as CNN's first chief anchor, Bernard Shaw, has died at the age of 82.

Shaw died of pneumonia not related to COVID-19, according to a family statement released early Thursday.

It's a devastating blow for the CNN family, even though Shaw has been retired for 21 years.

Bernard Shaw Dies at 82

Shaw first joined CNN with its launch on June 1, 1980.

Throughout his long career, Shaw spent time covering some of the biggest stories of his time, including the Tianenmen Square student revolt in 1989, the Gulf War while live on the ground in Baghdad in 1991 and the 2000 presidential election.

Chris Licht, CNN Chairman and CEO, said in a statement Thursday, "CNN's beloved anchor and colleague, Bernard Shaw, passed away yesterday at the age of 82. Bernie was a CNN original and was our Washington Anchor when we launched on June 1st, 1980. He was our lead anchor for the next twenty years from anchoring coverage of presidential elections to his iconic coverage of the First Gulf War live from Baghdad in 1991. 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. The condolences of all of us at CNN go out to his wife Linda and his children."

CNN writes, ""In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Bernard Shaw Scholarship Fund at the University of Chicago. The Shaw family requests complete privacy at this time,' the family said in their statement provided by former CNN CEO Tom Johnson.

In a statement, Johnson said Shaw 'exemplified excellence in his life' and will be 'remembered as a fierce advocate of responsible journalism.'

'As a journalist, he demanded accuracy and fairness in news coverage. He earned the respect of millions of viewers around the world for his integrity and independence. He resisted forcefully any lowering of ethical news standards or any compromise of solid news coverage. He always could be trusted as a reporter and as an anchor,' Johnson said.

'Bernie was my personal friend and colleague for more than 55 years. I will miss him enormously,' he added. 'My wife Edwina and I extend our most genuine condolences to Bernie's wife Linda and to his family.'"

As Boomers Age, the Gut-Punch Headlines Keep Coming

If it feels like the extraordinary losses of icons keep piling, that's because they do. And unfortunately, they will continue to.

The Boomer generation is beginning to reach the life expectancy for Americans – around 80 – and that means that the generation most people today grew up with on television and movies is staring to pass away from the effects of old age.

The COVID epidemic really brought into focus this idea that Boomers, Silent Gen and Greatest Gen relatives would be passing soon from the infirmities of age, but people forgot to grapple with what it would feel like to watch your stars and idols pass.

Never was this more evident than in the breathtaking loss of once-living-legend Betty White at the conclusion of 2021. It made the public realize that the people they take for granted – the Whites and Shaws of the world – are going to leave soon, taking with them legacies almost too large for life.