NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The New York news business has lost an icon -- and we've lost a dear friend and colleague.
After battling heart problems, veteran CBS 2 reporter John Slattery died suddenly Thursday morning at his home in Westchester County. He was 63.
He was a devoted family man and a journalist of the highest caliber.
For more than 30 years on New York television, you could count on John Slattery to set the scene for you, to report the news.
Covering the five boroughs and the Tri-State Area for WCBS-TV since 1984, from the start, John reported on the biggest stories, including subway vigilante Bernie Goetz.
A four-time Emmy winner, he didn't let go of stories that touched him deeply. Year after year, John reported on the missing boy Etan Patz.
John was on the scene of countless tragedies. On 9/11, he was one of the first reporters to arrive on the chaotic and terrifying scene, having witnessed the second plane strike the World Trade Center while emergency vehicles were still trying to make their way to the disaster.
He was steady, plainspoken and unflappable.
He was an observer who wasn't afraid to tell it like it is. He wrote about world and religious leaders, and covered politicians, perpetrators and regular people of all walks of life.
John had the ability to poke fun at himself. And he loved to sing. He was a past president of the Inner Circle, an organization of New York political reporters spoofing the headlines. This winter, he played the role of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted his condolences Thursday with a photo of him, Slattery and others at this year's Inner Circle show.
Most of all, John was devoted to his faith and his family. He and his wife, Suzie, raised their three children in Westchester.
"We are saddened by the unexpected passing of our friend and colleague John Slattery," said Peter Dunn, President of CBS Television Stations. "During his nearly 30-year career at WCBS, he was great at reporting the news and was someone we counted on to cover big stories for us, both here in New York and around the world. Our thoughts and prayers are with John's wife, Suzie, and their children and grandchildren."
"John had been with us since October 1984, so he was just days away from celebrating his 30th anniversary at WCBS," Dunn added. "We were truly blessed to have him as a member of our CBS 2 news team and we will miss him dearly."
Former colleague Jim Ryan, who knew John for 35 years, said he "can't believe that he is no longer with us."
"He is that rare combination of people in our business who is superb at his job, at the same time a very decent guy, a very nice guy," Ryan said.
John's friends said he was the hard-bitten reporter with a soft human side.
"A man who was generous, who was kind, who was supportive, who was always interested in your life and your family and goings-on in your world," said former colleague Tony Guida.
"You don't often in life meet someone as extraordinary as John Slattery, and when you do, if you do, you are blessed," Guida added. "And I feel blessed to have known and worked with him."
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