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Jennings To Viewers: “I Have Lung Cancer”

Jennings was planning to anchor World News Tonight, but decided late in the day that his voice was not up to it and “would not be fair to the audience,” ABC said this evening. Elizabeth Vargas anchored the broadcast. Jennings taped an end note for the broadcast:

 “Finally this evening, a brief note about change. Some of you noticed in the last several days that I was not covering the Pope. While my colleagues at ABC did a superb job, I did think a few times I was missing out.

However, as some of you now know I have learned in the last couple of days that I have lung cancer. Yes, I was a smoker until about 20 years ago, and I was weak and I smoked over 9/11. But whatever the reason, the news does slow you down a bit.

I have been reminding my colleagues today — who have all been incredibly supportive — that almost 10 million Americans are already living with cancer, and I have a lot to learn from them. And living is the key word. The National Cancer Institute says that we are survivors from the moment of diagnosis. I will continue to do the broadcast, on good days my voice will not always be like this. Certainly, it’s been a long time — and I hope it goes without saying that a journalist who doesn’t value — deeply — the audience’s loyalty should be in another line of work.

To be perfectly honest I am a little surprised at the kindness today from so many people. That’s not intended as false modesty. But even I was taken aback by how far and how fast news travels.

Finally, I wonder if other men and woman ask their doctors right away — OK, Doc, when does the hair go? At any rate, that’s it for now on World News Tonight.

Have a good evening. I’m Peter Jennings. Thanks and goodnight.”

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