Veteran BBC broadcaster Alistair Cooke passes away

MUMBAI: Veteran BBC broadcaster Alistair Cooke, who authored Letter From America for 58 years, died today at his New York home. He was 95.

Cooke died at his home in New York at midnight local time. No cause of death was given, but Cooke had filed in his final letter earlier this month because of heart disease.

Cooke's informed and engaging despatch from the United States, Letter From America started in 1946 and ran every week thereafter for more than 2,500 shows, making it the longest running radio programme in the world, says a BBC press release.

BBC paid tribute to Alistair Cooke, one of its most nduring, distinctive and well-loved broadcasters, today.

Says BBC's acting director general,Mark Byford, "Alistair Cooke was one of the greatest broadcasters ever in the history of the BBC - an outstanding commentator of the 20th Century. His insight, wisdom and unique ability to craft words enabled millions of listeners in the UK and around the world to understand the texture of the United States and its people. All of us at the BBC are saddened today."

BBC Radio director Jenny Abramsky said: "With his superb voice and masterly turn of phrase, Alistair Cooke, was the most brilliant radio chronicler of his age. His contribution to BBC Radio over decades was unmatched. Above all, his relationship with his listeners was unique. BBC Radio is grateful for the decades of contributions from Alistair Cooke and we will miss him greatly."

BBC Radio 4 controller Helen Boaden said, "Millions of listeners over many years have enjoyed Alastair Cooke's Letters from America. Many of us charted our lives through them. He was wry, wise and always insightful. We shall miss him very much."

Offering his condolences BBC News director Richard Sambrook said: "Alistair Cooke was a wonderful broadcaster combining intelligence, shrewd judgement about the affairs of the world and elegance in his writing. For generations of listeners he was a bridge across the Atlantic. We'll all miss him."

His family informed the BBC of his death. 

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