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Longtime NBC news correspondent John Palmer dies

WASHINGTON Longtime NBC news correspondent John Palmer has died at a Washington hospital. He was 77.

Palmer's wife Nancy confirmed he died Saturday at George Washington University Hospital of pulmonary fibrosis.

Palmer's career with the network lasted four decades, from 1962 to 1990 and again from 1994 until his retirement in 2002.

Palmer had a number of high-profile assignments over the years. He was news anchor for "Today" from 1982 to 1989. He also covered the White House, served as a national correspondent in Washington until his retirement, covering the aborted rescue attempt of American hostages in Iran and anchored the first hours of NBC's coverage of the 1986 Challenger space shuttle disaster.

Palmer was a native of Kingsport, Tenn., and held degrees from Northwestern and Columbia universities.