60 Minutes paid tribute to its longtime correspondent Bob Simon on Sunday night by airing a report about a new drug that could combat the deadly Ebola virus that he finished on the day of his death.
The story, reported by Simon, 73, and produced by his daughter Tanya, looked into the potential benefits of ZMapp against the disease, which killed more than 9,000 people in West Africa last year.
In a moving introduction to the report, CBS Evening News anchor, Scott Pelley, 57, explained how his colleague completed its final segment just hours before he died in a car crash in Manhattan.
Speaking in front of a black-and-white portrait of Simon, Pelley said: ‘We begin tonight with a story by Bob Simon our colleague and friend, whom we lost this past Wednesday in a tragic car accident.
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His final report: 60 Minutes paid tribute to its longtime correspondent Bob Simon on Sunday night by airing an Ebola-oriented report that he finished on the day of his death. Above, Simon is pictured in the report
Introduction: In a moving introduction to the report, CBS Evening News anchor, Scott Pelley (pictured), 57, explained how his colleague completed the piece just hours before he died in a car crash in Manhattan
A possible cure? Simon’s story looked into the potential benefits of ZMapp against the Ebola virus, which killed over 9,000 people in West Africa last year. Above, Simon speaks with Dr Gary Kobinger in the report
Producer: Simon’s daughter Tanya (pictured, left with her father, center) produced his final 60 Minutes piece
‘In a 47-year career, reporting from every corner of the globe, Bob set the standard for CBS News. On Wednesday evening, Bob finished a story intended for this broadcast tonight.
‘It’s especially fitting that the producer was his daughter, Tanya, a veteran producer at 60 Minutes, who from time to time worked with her dad. We thought the best way to pay tribute – and what Bob would have wanted – would be to put his story on the air in his own words, beginning right here.’
During the report, aired on the program at 7pm (EST), Simon also looked into why drugs designed to fight Ebola, such as ZMapp, were not available for use in the US during last year’s record outbreak.
‘Why did we have so little of [ZMapp] when the epidemic broke out and so little of it today?’ he asked, questioning whether the country would be prepared for a possible future outbreak.
Simon traveled to Canada’s national microbiology lab on the desolate prairie in Manitoba to meet with Dr Gary Kobinger, who helped develop ZMapp, which must be stored in tanks of minus 320 degrees.
He then met Dr Kent Brantly, a medical missionary who became the first American citizen to be struck down by Ebola last summer while treating patients suffering from the disease in Liberia, West Africa.
Longtime correspondent: During the report, Simon (pictured) also looked into why drugs designed to fight Ebola, such as ZMapp, were not available for use in the US during last year’s record outbreak of the virus
Deadly: ‘Why did we have so little of [ZMapp] when the epidemic broke out and so little of it today?’ he asked, questioning whether the US would be prepared in the future. Above, a still image from Simon’s final report
Interviewees: Simon traveled to Canada’s national microbiology lab on the prairie in Manitoba to meet with Dr Gary Kobinger (left), who helped develop ZMapp, which must be stored in tanks of minus 320 degrees. He then met Dr Kent Brantly, a medical missionary who became the first American citizen to be diagnosed (right)
Another scene: Simon joined the 60 Minutes team in 1998 and was in his 19th season for the program. He won 27 Emmys in his career, and received four Peabody Awards. Above, another interview in the segment
Brantly received a dose of ZMapp after Dr Kobinger brought a small amount of the experimental drug to the neighboring country of Sierra Leone. Two hours later, he was able to get up and walk to the bathroom himself – something he had not been able to do in more than a day and a half.
In the report, Simon commented: ‘It’s impossible to say what role ZMapp played in Brantly’s recovery because he also received an experimental blood transfusion and first-rate medical care in the US.’
But the veteran correspondent added: ‘Still, after his story got out there was a mad scramble for the eight antidotes that remained of what was being called a miracle drug.’
During the story, Simon also spoke with experts from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, who say they hope to see ZMapp in their medical cabinets soon.
He reported that BARDA has already spent $25million trying to fast-track the drug and has called on government-funded centers that were set up to make drugs and vaccines quickly in emergencies.
Talented: Last week, Kroft and his colleague Leslie Stahl revealed that they were with Simon’s daughter Tanya when she received the tragic news of her father’s death on Wednesday. Above, Simon in the report
Meeting: During Sunday night’s program, Simon also spoke with Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority experts (pictured), who say they hope to see ZMapp in their medical cabinets soon
Friend and colleague: Pelley is pictured introducing Simon’s segment, which was finished on Wednesday
Family: Simon embraces wife Francoise and Tanya after his release from 40 days of captivity in Iraq in 1991
But despite the organization’s calls, months have passed by and the manufacturing centers have not produced a single dose of ZMapp, Simon said.
Following Simon’s report on Sunday, Steve Kroft spoke of his late colleague’s ‘sense of justice and his sense of the absurd,’ both of which informed his journalism over his lengthy career.
Kroft also described Simon as ‘both a model and an inspiration’ to his co-workers at CBS News.
Last week, Kroft and his colleague Leslie Stahl revealed to Entertainment Tonight that they were with Simon’s daughter Tanya when she received the tragic news of her father’s death on Wednesday.
In an emotional interview, the pair also disclosed that Tanya was pregnant, and Simon was set to become a grandfather for the second time before the New York-based car crash.
Simon’s widow Francoise was spotted inside their Upper West Side home Thursday receiving flowers
Leslie Stahl and Steve Croft (above) talked about Simon and his daughter in an interview Thursday (above)
‘He hit me and he looked like he lost control of the car,’ said the 23-year-old driver of the Mercedes about the livery cab driver following the accident on the West Side Highway. The car that Simon was traveling in is pictured
‘She’s pregnant and so I think a lot of us are a little worried about her,’ said Stahl, adding: ‘You’ve never seen a father daughter closer and I think it was a marvel to observe.’
‘You would expect she couldn’t work for him, you would expect there would be a power difference or difficulty, and they worked together. It was a dream for each of them.’
Stahl, who has reported on 60 Minutes since 1991, said that Simon reveled in any opportunity to work with his daughter, saying: ‘Of course nothing was better than, for him, working with his kid.’
She added that Simon was already a doting grandfather to Tanya’s son Jack. ‘Oh my God, I went out to lunch with Bob recently and that is all he talked about,’ she said.
‘From the beginning of the lunch to the end is “Jack, Jack, Jack, Jack, Jack”. The whole entire lunch was how much he loved that kid.’
Kroft said of Simon’s death: ‘Bob has thrown himself into every war zone for 50 years … and to hear he had died in a car accident in New York City was the one thing I never expected.’
Following the crash, tributes poured in for Simon, who survived being held in an Iraqi prison under Saddam Hussein and was one of the last reporters to leave Saigon during the Vietnam War.
The Emmy-award winning reporter was travelling in a Lincoln town car when it rear-ended a Mercedes-Benz stopped at a red light on 12th Avenue near West 30th Street on Wednesday.
The car then slammed into the metal barriers separating the lanes at around 6.45pm. Simon, who was sitting in the backseat of the vehicle on the West Side Highway, was knocked unconscious.
Bob Simon is seen after he was released from 40 days of captivity by Iraqi forces during the first Iraq War on March 2, 1991
An emotional Scott Pelley, who was a longtime colleague of Simon at CBS, announced the tragic news on Wednesday evening. A tearful Pelley appeared on CBS this morning to pay tribute to his colleague
He rushed to Mount Sinai-Roosevelt Hospital in the city with head and torso injuries. But despite medics’ best efforts, he was shortly pronounced dead.
Because of the catastrophic damage to the livery cab, investigators later said they were planning to interview the driver because they believed speed may have been a factor in the crash.
Pelley announced Simon’s death on CBS on Wednesday night while fighting back tears. He had reportedly left a Broadway show early to rush back to the television station to announce the news.
‘We have some sad news from within our CBS news family. Our 60 Minutes colleague Bob Simon was killed this evening,’ said Pelley. ‘Bob’s daughter Tanya is a talented producer for 60 Minutes and tonight our thoughts are with Tanya, Bob’s family and his many, many friends.’
Pelley later tweeted: ‘One of the great writers of a generation has passed. Bob Simon was a journalist of extraordinary courage.’
‘A REPORTER’S REPORTER’: THE LANDMARKS OF BOB SIMON’S 50-YEAR’S IN NEWS
Reporter Bob Simon pictured reporting from a helicopter during the Vietnam War (left). Right, he was made the Middle East correspondent for CBS News in 1987
Bob Simon was described by his 60 Minutes producer as a ‘reporter’s reporter’ and his coverage and insight into some of the world’s most hostile regions brought numerous accolades including 27 Emmys and four Peabody Awards.
Simon joined CBS News in 1967 as a reporter and assignment editor, covering campus unrest and inner-city riots. He also worked in CBS’ Tel Aviv bureau from 1977 to 1981 and in Washington, D.C., as its Department of State correspondent.
He got his start as a globe-trotting war correspondent in Vietnam. During one broadcast from the war zone, Simon reported from the back of a helicopter on its way to collect an American with shrapnel wounds.
Simon, reporting from the back of a helicopter, during the Vietnam War
He covered the length of the Vietnam War and was on one of last helicopters out of Saigon in 1975 when the U.S. withdrew troops.
As a war correspondent, he found himself in Portugal, Cyprus, the Falkland Islands, the Persian Gulf, and Yugoslavia.
He covered the conflict in Northern Ireland and U.S. military actions in Grenada, Somalia and Haiti.
In 1987, he was made chief Middle East correspondent for CBS News.
At the beginning of the Persian-Gulf war in January 1991, he was captured with colleagues by Iraqi forces.
The team spent 40 days in a prison of Iraqi despot Saddam Hussein.
He was interrogated, beaten with canes and truncheons, and starved by his Iraqi captors. He would later recount his story in the book Forty Days.
Following his ordeal, he returned to Iraq in January 1993 to cover the U.S. bombing of the country.
Simon won numerous awards, including his fourth Peabody and an Emmy for his story from Central Africa on the world’s only all-black symphony in 2012.
Another story about an orchestra in Paraguay, one whose poor members constructed their instruments from trash, won him his 27th Emmy, perhaps the most held by a journalist for field reporting, CBS said.
He also captured electronic journalism’s highest honor, the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award, for ‘Shame of Srebrenica,’ a ’60 Minutes II’ report on genocide during the Bosnian War.
His range was broad – from reporting on the Lost Boys of Sudan during the 1987 civil war to more recently, the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster which was hit by a tsunami triggered by a 9.0 earthquake.
The 73-year-old was working on a piece for 60 Minutes this Sunday at the time of his death. Along with his daughter Tanya, a 60 Minutes producer, the reporter was working on a story about the effort to cure Ebola.
The scene of a fatal car accident on the West Side Highway in New York Cit in which veteran 60 Minutes correspondent Bob Simon died
The driver of the Mercedes claimed the accident was the fault of the livery cab driver, following the accident, which was being investigated by the NYPD
In a statement, 60 Minutes Executive Producer Jeff Fager said: ‘It’s a terrible loss for all of us at CBS News. 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.’
He added: ‘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. There is no one else like Bob Simon. All of us at CBS News and particularly at 60 Minutes will miss him very much.’
Simon joined the 60 Minutes team in 1998 and was in his 19th season for the program.
He won 27 Emmys in his career, and was the recipient of four Peabody Awards.
’60 Minutes’ will devote its full hour next Sunday to Simon and his career.