Former CNN President Burt Reinhardt Dies at 91

The executive spent nearly 20 years at the cable news network until retiring in 2000.

Burt Reinhardt, former president of CNN who is credited with helping guide the network into a 24-hour news operation, died Tuesday in Atlanta. He was 91.

His daughter, Cheryl, told CNN that Reinhardt died from complications following a series of strokes earlier this year.

Reinhardt, who joined CNN as vp, was bumped up to president from 1983-90 and later served as vice chairman of the organization until he retired in 2000.

"We both wanted to run a great news organization," said Ted Turner, who founded CNN in 1980. "He just did a masterful job. He got the stories covered, but he did it within the budget."

He added: "I'm not sure CNN would be here without him. [Reinhardt was an] integral part of getting the whole operation going and keeping it going. He ran it close to 20 years."

Said former CNN chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour: "He had a steely demeanor but had a heart of gold."

CNN Worldwide president Jim Walton also praised Reinhardt.

"I'm sure a lot of people will talk about Burt's fiscal responsibility," Walton said. "But I think what set Burt apart from everyone else who has been at CNN was that he was quietly strong. And behind the scenes, this man has integrity and he's very competitive, but he wants to do things the right way. He's fair, but firm and he treated everyone with respect."

A native of New York, Reinhardt got his start with U.S. Army Signal Corps, filming combat footage during World War II that included Gen. Douglas MacArthur's historic return to the Philippines.

Reinhardt later served as news editor for Fox Movietone News, vp at United Press International Television News and executive vp at Paramount Pictures before joining CNN.