Bob Simon’s final report aired on 60 Minutes this past Sunday, February 15th, four days after his tragic death.
Sunday evening, 60 Minutes opened in an unfortunate way, “We begin tonight with a story by Bob Simon our colleague and friend, whom we lost this past Wednesday in a tragic car accident,” Scott Pelley said at the top of CBS newsmag.
Simon was killed Wednesday night when the Town Car in which he was a passenger sideswiped another car while going 20 miles per hour over the speed limit, and then slammed into a barrier. According to CNN, Simon, who was seated in the rear of the vehicle and was not wearing his seatbelt suffered head and neck trauma. He was transported to the hospital and pronounced dead. The 44-year-old driver who broke both of his arms and legs in the crash was in stable condition. His driving record indicated prior traffic summons and he is being investigated.
Simon finished his 60 Minutes report, “Z Mapp,” on the development of a promising drug to combat Ebola, the day he died in the car crash on New York City’s West Side Highway.
Executive Producer of 60 Minutes Jeff Fager said “It’s such a tragedy, made worse because we lost him in a car accident — a man who’s escaped more difficult situations than almost any one journalist in modern times … we will miss him very much.” Bob Simon’s career spanned 50 years and he was awarded countless awards. He covered both the Vietnam and Gulf Wars. Simon was on one of the last helicopters out of Saigon during the Vietnam War, according to his CBS News biography. In 1991, he was captured by Iraqi forces at the start of the Gulf War. Simon and three colleagues spent 40 days in prison, an experience he later wrote about in his book “Forty Days.”
At the end of this Sunday’s broadcast of 60 Minutes, colleague Steve Kroft said, “We lost Bob Simon this past Wednesday night. All of us lost him – his family, his colleagues here at 60 Minutes and all of you who have watched this broadcast over the years. We lost his curiousity, his unparalleled writing ability, his calm bravery under fire. And we lost his sense of justice and his sense of the absurd – both of which he brought to so much of his reporting.”
A tribute to Simon will air during next week’s episode of 60 Minutes. His funeral is set for today at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York, the city where he was both born and died. He was 73.