Cokie Roberts, broadcast journalism legend, dies at 75

Carla Harmon
September 17, 2019

She joined ABC News in 1988 and was co-anchor with Sam Donaldson of the Sunday political show "This Week" from 1996 to 2002.

Roberts was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002 and was successfully treated. She appeared on "This Week" in August, drawing enough concern about her evident weight loss that she released a statement saying "I am doing fine" and was looking forward to covering next year's election.

Regarded as a pioneer in the journalism industry, she worked for several of the nation's top news outlets over the years and spent the past three decades with ABC News. She was recognized by the American Women in Radio and Television as one of the 50 greatest women in the history of broadcasting. Cokie was literally named a "Living Legend" by the Library of Congress in 2008.

She died from complications due to breast cancer, her family said in a statement, adding that "Cokie was - first and foremost - a wife, mother, sister, daughter, aunt, cousin and friend".

"I've been blessed in my life with been a long and happy marriage that produced two wonderful children who have in turn each produced three spectacular grandchildren and that is by far the best part", she said in 2013. "Cokie has won nearly every award in journalism; she has been the trusted voice that Americans count on when political news breaks".

She also published six books, many of them best-sellers.

As a commentator, Roberts sometimes walked a line that threatened to eclipse her role as a dispassionate journalist.

But her values put family and relationships above all else.

'She is also survived by friendships and by causes that she put her time, resources and energy into that are too numerous to count. In a February 2016 op-ed co-authored with her husband, Roberts called on "the rational wing" of the Republican party to stop the nomination of Donald Trump. "But I've sort of assuaged my guilt by writing about it and feeling like I'm educating people about the government and how to be good voters and good citizens", Roberts told The Washington Post in March. "I have always cared more about family than my career".

'[She] was known as one of the smartest political commentators on television and radio for decades, ' Goldston wrote.

In interviews, Roberts often said she might have run for public office herself but thought she would spare her journalist husband the difficulty of what could be an awkward dynamic.

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