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Walter Cronkite Gravely Ill

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Gail Shister
TVNewser Columnist

TVNewser has learned legendary CBS newsman Walter Cronkite, 92, who once held the title of “Most Trusted Man in America,” is gravely ill, according to multiple CBS News sources. The network began updating his obituary more than a week ago, a source adds.

CBS News executive Linda Mason, designated to speak on Cronkite’s behalf, had no comment.

The avuncular Cronkite anchored “CBS Evening News” for 19 years, until 1981, when he was forced to retire. Dan Rather was named his successor. Cronkite maintained an office at CBS, where he was a special correspondent.

A native of St. Joseph, Mo., Cronkite made his mark as a World War II correspondent for United Press. He joined CBS in 1950 as a Washington correspondent. In 1962, he was named anchor of “CBS Evening News,” then 15 minutes in length. The following year, it became network TV’s first 30′minute weeknight newscast.

Cronkite’s nightly sign-off — “And that’s the way it is…” – became part of the popular lexicon, and his gravelly voice was instantly recognizable. During his tenure, he led “Evening News” to first place in the Nielsen ratings.

Cronkite returned to “Evening News,” in a manner of speaking, in September 2006, when he recorded the opening to the newscast with new anchor Katie Couric.

In an interview with this reporter in 2006, Cronkite was asked if he ever thought about death.

“When you get to be 89, you have to think about it a little bit. It doesn’t prey on me, and it doesn’t keep me awake nights. Occasionally, when I’m upset about something else, I think, ‘My gosh, I don’t know if I should do this or that because I’m not sure I’ll be here that long to enjoy it.’”

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