Former NBC News Anchor Garrick Utley Dies at 74

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Garrick Utley in 1992

The veteran newsman, who also served as host of "Meet the Press" and Sunday's edition of "Today," had a long battle with cancer.

Former NBC News anchor Garrick Utley has died after a long battle with cancer, the network reported on Friday's Today, with Tom Brokaw also confirming the news that his longtime friend and colleague had died in a note to NBC News staffers.

After reporting from Vietnam and from throughout Europe as a foreign correspondent, Utley served as host of Meet the Press and Sunday's edition of Today. He first joined the network as a researcher on The Huntley-Brinkley Report before serving as NBC's first Saigon bureau chief and running the network's London and Paris bureaus, Brokaw wrote.

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Back in the U.S., in addition to Meet the Press and Weekend Today, Utley also anchored a weekly magazine show and served as a fill-in anchor for John Chancellor on NBC Nightly News, Brokaw wrote. "Garrick was a man for all seasons — a national political correspondent, moderator of Meet the Press and anchor of Weekend Today."

Brokaw's note continued: "Bill Wheatley said recently, 'Garrick was the quintessential foreign correspondent,' from Vietnam to the old Soviet Union, from Northern Ireland to the Eastern Bloc. Garrick embodied the history of NBC News for most of the latter half of the 20th century and he will be greatly missed."

Before retiring from journalism, Utley also worked for ABC News and CNN.

ABC News president Ben Sherwood said of Utley in a statement: “A thoughtful and talented reporter’s reporter whose voice will be greatly missed. In stature, voice and impact his passing leaves a great void in American journalism."

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He was a gifted linguist, Brokaw noted, who spoke German, French and Spanish and was also an opera buff.

On Today, Al Roker shared his memories of working with Utley on the weekend edition of the show.

"He was funny, he had a wonderful sense of humor. He was also an adjunct professor at SUNY Oswego. He was just a talented, talented man, very few people know, though, he wanted to be a country singer," Roker said.

Utley is survived by his wifem Gertje, an art historian; a brother, Jonathon; and a sister-in-law, Carol Marin, a political reporter for Chicago's NBC affiliate.

Check out video of Today's tribute to Utley below.

Marisa Guthrie contributed to this report.

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