Bradley joined the staff of the venerable news magazine 25 years ago. His consummate skills as a broadcast journalist and his distinctive body of work were recognized with numerous awards, including 20 Emmys, the latest for an interview with astronaut Neil Armstrong.
Bradley grew up in a tough section of Philadelphia, was wounded while covering the Vietnam War and later became the first black White House correspondent for CBS News.
He was a man who broke down racial barriers - and became a role model for young African Americans, 60 Minutes correspondent Lesley Stahl reports.
"The pressure is there," Bradley said. "It's been there every day of my life."
In a special report, CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric said Bradley was "considered intelligent, smooth, cool, a great reporter, beloved and respected by all his colleagues here at CBS News."
"He certainly was a reporter's reporter," fellow 60 Minutes correspondent Mike Wallace told CBS News Radio.
Bradley was honored with the Lifetime Achievement award from the National Association of Black Journalists. Three of his Emmys came at the 2003 awards: a Lifetime Achievement Emmy; one for a 60 Minutes report on brain cancer patients, "A New Lease on Life;" and another for an hour-long piece about sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, "The Catholic Church on Trial."
more of what Wallace has to say about Bradley.
Check out photos of Bradley through the years.
Read what Public Eye has to say about Bradley.
Whether grilling the mass murderer of Oklahoma City or getting a legend like George Burns to drop his guard, he brought hundreds of stories - and countless unforgettable moments - to 60 Minutes.
But at work his nickname was Easy Ed. He made it look effortless, as someone said: like he wasn't really working, Stahl reports.
The news weighed heavy on those who worked with Bradley.
"It's an incredibly sad day for everyone at CBS News. Ed was a phenomenal reporter and a great man," Senior Broadcast Producer Bill Owens told CBSNews.com. "Never have the words, 'he will be missed' meant more."
In an afternoon briefing, CBS News President Sean McManus told reporters that Bradley will be missed for his hard work and groundbreaking stories, but also for his demeanor.
"You don't replace a man like Ed Bradley at any news organization. He is a legend and we're going to miss his work, but I think just as important, we're going to miss Ed Bradley the man," McManus said.
Bradley's groundbreaking journalism included an interview with condemned Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh - the only television interview ever given by the man guilty of one of the worst terrorist acts on American soil. It also earned Bradley an Emmy.
His reporting on the worst school shooting in American history, "Columbine," revealed that authorities ignored telling evidence with which they might have prevented the massacre.
Bradley was raised in a rough section of Philadelphia, where he once recalled that his parents sometimes worked 20-hour days at two jobs apiece.
"I was told, 'You can be anything you want, kid,'" he once told an interviewer. "When you hear that often enough, you believe it."
After graduating from Cheyney State College with a degree in education, he launched his career as a DJ and news reporter for a Philadelphia radio station in 1963, moving to New York's WCBS radio four years later.
Bradley's first job out of college was as a sixth-grade teacher.
He joined CBS News as a stringer in the Paris bureau in 1971, transferring a year later to the Saigon bureau during the Vietnam War. It was the story that put him on the map and almost killed him, Stahl reports.
As Bradley explained in one interview: "People were moved from Viet Cong areas into towns controlled by the government. And all of a sudden I heard this terrific noise ... if I had not moved to sit on the side, I would have been dead."
After reporting in Cambodia, Bradley moved to the Washington bureau in June 1974, 14 months after he was named a correspondent.
Other hour-long reports by Bradley prompted praise and action: "Death by Denial" won a Peabody Award for focusing on the plight of Africans dying of AIDS and helped convince drug companies to donate and discount AIDS drugs; "Unsafe Haven" spurred federal investigations into the nation's largest chain of psychiatric hospitals; and "Town Under Siege," about a small town battling toxic waste, was named one of the Ten Best Television Programs of 1997 by Time magazine.
WatchBradley on the anchor desk in 1979. WatchBradley report on the end of the Vietnam war. Watch"the best of Bradley."
Bradley's significant contribution to electronic journalism was also recognized by the Radio/Television News Directors Association when it named him its Paul White Award winner for 2000, joining distinguished journalists such as Edward R. Murrow, Walter Cronkite and Peter Jennings as a Paul White recipient.
More recently, the Denver Press Club awarded him its 2003 Damon Runyon Award for career journalistic excellence. Bradley also received the prestigious Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards grand prize and television first prize for "CBS Reports: In the Killing Fields of America," a documentary about violence in America, for which he was co-anchor and reporter.