Former NBC journalist Garrick Utley has died at age 74 after a long battle with cancer, the network announced Friday.
He also had worked at ABC News and CNN before retiring.
Former NBC anchor Tom Brokaw announced Utley's passing in a note to NBC News staffers. Brokaw wrote:
"As a longtime friend and colleague of NBC newsman Garrick Utley, I am sad to share the news that he has passed away after a long battle with cancer.
"Garrick was the first of our generation to crack the starting lineup of NBC News in the glory days of Huntley-Brinkley. He was NBC's first Saigon bureau chief and, later, ran our London and Paris bureaus before returning home to anchor a weekly magazine show and serve as fill-in anchor for John Chancellor on 'Nightly News.' Garrick was a man for all seasons — a national political correspondent, moderator of 'Meet the Press' and anchor of 'Weekend TODAY.'
"Always the complete gentleman, he was a gifted linguist, speaking flawless German, French and Spanish — and sharing his passion for opera with colleagues and NPR audiences. 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."
On Friday's "Today," Matt Lauer and Al Roker paid tribute to Utley.
"You would see him sometimes at the elevator just as he was retiring, you forget he was an imposing figure physically — he was a big, big guy — but also intellectually, he was a smart man," Lauer said.
"I worked with him on 'Weekend Today,' and he was funny, he had a wonderful sense of humor," Roker said. "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."
Utley had a great voice, Roker added.
Utley is survived by his wife, Gertje, an art historian; a brother, Jonathon; and sister-in-law Carol Marin, a political reporter at WMAQ in Chicago.