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Former Daily News Editor Michael O’Neill Dead at 89

Michael O’Neill, the former editor of The New York Daily News, has died. The paper is reporting that O’Neill died in his sleep after a two year battle with pulmonary fibrosis.

O’Neill started at the Daily News’ Washington bureau in 1956 as a correspondent, and eventually rose to become its editor, a position he held from 1975 to 1982. Perhaps his most memorable headline was “Ford to City: Drop Dead” after Gerald Ford declared he wasn’t going to bail the city out. O’Neill also oversaw the paper’s coverage of the Son of Sam killings and the 1977 blackout.

“Mike was far ahead of his time in recognizing the importance of what today is called hyper-local content and made the Daily News a force for civic good,” said the Daily News’ Mort Zuckerman. “He superbly served the Daily News and New York. We have lost a great journalist and a wonderful man.”

A memorial service will be held for O’Neill at the Larchmont Yacht Club on June 8.

[Picture via The New York Times]

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