NBC News says veteran reporter Garrick Utley has died of cancer. He was 74.

Utley began at NBC News in 1963, where for three decades he handled a wide variety of assignments. Early on, he reported from Vietnam on the escalating conflict. In later years, he moderated "Meet the Press."

He once speculated that he may have been the only person at NBC News who handled every type of programming as host or anchor. Standing a lanky 6-foot-6, Utley was known for his courtly and knowledgeable on-the-air manner.

Fellow NBC News alum Tom Brokaw praised Utley's legacy in a note to news division staffers sent Friday: "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."

Brokaw described Utley as "the first of our generation to crack the starting lineup of NBC News in the glory days of Huntley-Brinkley."

In 1993, Utley left NBC to be a foreign correspondent for ABC News. He reported for CNN from 1997 to 2002.

An opera buff, he was also a host of PBS' "Live From the Met."

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