Cokie Roberts, longtime political journalist, dies at 75

National and World

She joined ABC News in 1988 and was co-anchor of the Sunday political show “This Week” from 1996 to 2002

FILE- In this April 19, 2017, file photo, Cokie Roberts speaks during the opening ceremony for Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia. Roberts, a longtime political reporter and analyst at ABC News and NPR has died, ABC announced Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019. She was 75.

FILE- In this April 19, 2017, file photo, Cokie Roberts speaks during the opening ceremony for Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia. Roberts, a longtime political reporter and analyst at ABC News and NPR has died, ABC announced Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019. She was 75. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

NEW YORK (AP) — Cokie Roberts, the daughter of politicians who grew up to cover the family business in Washington for ABC News and NPR over several decades, died Tuesday in Washington of complications from breast cancer. She was 75.

ABC broke into network programming to announce her death and pay tribute.

Roberts was the daughter of Hale Boggs, a former House majority leader from Louisiana, and Lindy Boggs, who succeeded her husband in the job. Roberts worked in radio and at CBS News and PBS before joining ABC News in 1988.

She was a congressional reporter and analyst who co-anchored the Sunday political show “This Week” with Sam Donaldson from 1996 to 2002.

Roberts, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002, kept working nearly to the end. She appeared on “This Week” in August, drawing enough concern about her evident weight loss that she released a statement saying “I am doing fine” and was looking forward to covering next year’s election.

She co-wrote a political column for many years with her husband of 53 years, Steven, who survives. They had two children.

Roberts wrote books, focusing on the role of women in history. She wrote two with her husband, one about interfaith families and “From This Day Forward,” an account of their marriage.

Current ABC News political reporter Jonathan Karl recalled being in awe of Roberts when he first started working at the network.

“When I think of politics, I think of Cokie Roberts,” he said.

Her colleagues said she never became cynical or lost her love for politics. She did force NPR to clarify her role as a commentator when she wrote a column in 2016 calling on “the rational wing” of the Republican party to reject Donald Trump as their presidential candidate.

The family of Cokie Roberts released the following statement:

Her loving family announces the passing of journalist and author Cokie Roberts, due to complications from breast cancer, on September 17.

Born Mary Martha Corinne Morrison Claiborne Boggs on December 27, 1943, Cokie was – first and foremost – a wife, mother, sister, daughter, aunt, cousin and friend. 

Cokie’s career as a journalist at National Public Radio and ABC News took her to the heights of her profession, and her success as an author on history and family put her on the best seller list. 

But her values put family and relationships above all else.  

She is survived by her husband of 53 years, journalist, author and professor Steven V. Roberts, her children Lee Roberts and Rebecca Roberts, her grandchildren Regan, Hale and Cecilia Roberts and Claiborne, Jack and Roland Hartman, along with numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins. 

She is also survived by friendships and by causes that she put her time, resources and energy into that are too numerous to count. 

We would like to thank the staff at the National Institutes of Health for their dedication, expertise, work and incredible care for Cokie during her illness. 

We will miss Cokie beyond measure, both for her contributions and for her love and kindness.  

We are hopeful that Cokie now goes to join her parents, former Members of Congress Hale and Lindy Boggs, her siblings Barbara, Tom and William, who predecease her, and her God.

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