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Tributes Pour In For Longtime CBS '60 Minutes' Correspondent Bob Simon

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Tributes have been pouring in for longtime "60 Minutes'' correspondent Bob Simon, who died Wednesday in a car crash. He was 73.

"Bob Simon was a giant of broadcast journalism and a dear friend to everyone in the CBS News family,'' CBS News President David Rhodes said in a statement. "We are all shocked by this tragic, sudden loss.''

Simon had a career that spanned more than 50 years, surviving close calls in dozens of dangerous conflicts overseas.

PHOTOS: Remembering Bob Simon

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Around 6:45 p.m. Wednesday, police said a livery cab he was riding in careened out of control on the West Side Highway near 30th Street. The driver hit a Mercedes Benz that was stopped at a red light and then slammed into the center median, police said.

Simon was headed to a medical lecture on Ebola in downtown Manhattan at the time of the accident, CBS2's Jessica Schneider reported.

Simon was found unconscious with injuries to his head and abdomen, police said. He was taken to nearby St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Police said Thursday he was not wearing a seatbelt.

LINK: A Look At Bob Simon's Life, Via '60 Minutes'

The town car driver -- Abdul Reshad Fedahi, 44 -- was taken to Bellevue Hospital with injuries to his legs and arms. The driver of the Mercedes -- Zaq Miller, 23, of New Rochelle -- wasn't hurt.

"It's a terrible loss for all of us at CBS News," Jeffrey Fager, "60 Minutes" executive producer, said in a statement. "It is such a tragedy made worse because we lost him in a car accident, a man who has escaped more difficult situations than almost any journalist in modern times. Bob was a reporter's reporter. He was driven by a natural curiosity that took him all over the world covering every kind of story imaginable."

VIDEO: Bob Simon On The Life & Times Of A Foreign Correspondent

"CBS Evening News'' anchor Scott Pelley called Simon's death "absolutely shocking."

"And yet it's such a joy really to talk about Bob's life and his career because he was a correspondent really unlike you ever see these days," Pelley told WCBS 880.

Full Interview: Scott Pelley Remembers Bob Simon

Tributes have also been pouring in on social media since news of Simon's death.

Anderson Cooper tweeted: "Bob Simon was the best writer, in my opinion, working in broadcast news. I have admired him from the time I was a kid watching CBS News."

Dan Rather said: "Condolences to the family of my friend and long-time colleague, CBS News correspondent Bob Simon."

"So sorry to learn of the passing of Bob Simon," Larry King tweeted. "He was a great reporter and wonderful man. A frequent guest of mine. So sorry to hear this. RIP"

Katie Couric tweeted: "Heartbreaking news about Bob Simon of 60 'Minutes,' a brilliant writer and reporter and someone I admired deeply."

Chief Correspondent Jay Levine of WBBM-TV, CBS2 Chicago worked with Simon on multiple overseas assignments, and called him a "role model for generations."

Many others took to Twitter to honor the legendary newsman:

Simon had contributed regularly to "60 Minutes" since 1996. His last piece on "60 Minutes" this past weekend was on the Academy Award-nominated film "Selma."

Simon received numerous awards for his reporting. His 2012 story from Central Africa on the world's only all-black symphony won him his fourth Peabody award and an Emmy, CBS News recalled. A 2013 story about an orchestra in Paraguay, one whose poor members constructed their instruments from trash, won him his 27th Emmy.

CBS '60 Minutes' Correspondent Bob Simon Killed In Car Crash

As CBS2's Dana Tyler reported, the Bronx born globetrotter joined CBS News in 1967 and soon became a foreign correspondent.

His foreign coverage has appeared on all CBS News broadcasts and has earned him other major awards — including the Overseas Press Club's highest honor for a body of work, the President's Award. His 27 Emmys may be the most held by a journalist for field reporting, CBS News reported.

Simon won electronic journalism's highest honor, the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award, for "Shame of Srebrenica," a report on the old "60 Minutes II" program on heinous acts of genocide during the Bosnian War.

His career in war reporting began in Vietnam. He was based in London from 1972 to 1977 and in Saigon from 1971 to 1972 and won an Overseas Press Club Award for his reporting on the 1972 spring offensive in Hanoi.

He was also part of the CBS News team that won an Overseas Press Club award for Best Radio Spot News for coverage at the end of the conflict in 1975.

"He wanted to give voice to the voiceless," Pelley said.

During the opening days of the first Gulf war in 1991, Simon and three other members of his CBS News crew were taken prisoner by the Iraqi military and held in Iraqi prisons for 40 days.

Before joining CBS News, Simon was an American Foreign Service officer from 1964 to 1967. He was also a Fulbright scholar in France and a Woodrow Wilson scholar.

"He traveled from the Arctic Circle to the Antarctic Circle and everywhere in between," Pelley said. "I remember he used to have a voicemail message on his phone. It said, 'This is Bob Simon. I'm out of the office and I'm likely to be for months.' And that is the truth; he traveled the world to give us the truth in some of the most desperate places on Earth."

Simon's career transformed into doing longer-form reports on '60 Minutes.' Viewers and reporters alike learned from his skill of storytelling.

His friend of 30 years, Jeff Fager, '60 Minutes' Executive Producer said Simon would go anywhere for a story and set the standard.

Simon was born May 21, 1941 in the Bronx. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Brandeis University in 1962 with a degree in history.

He is survived by his wife, Françoise, and their daughter, Tanya, who is a producer for "60 Minutes" in New York. He adored his grandson, Jack, and was expecting another grandchild -- daughter Tanya is six months pregnant.

At the time of his death, he was working with his daughter on a report about the search for a cure for Ebola.


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