One of the great figures in American journalism has died.
Ben Bradlee, former executive editor of the Washington Post, passed away at the age of 93.
The family says he had been in hospice care suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
His death was reported by The Washington Post Tuesday.
Bradlee skyrocketed to fame in the early 1970s when he allowed the Post to look deeper into the burglary at the Watergate Hotel. His collaboration with young reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein eventually brought down Richard Nixon’s presidency and established the Washington Post as one of the world's top newspapers.
"He had the courage of an army," Woodward and Bernstein said in a statement Tuesday evening. "Ben had an intuitive understanding of the history of our profession, its formative impact on him and all of us. We loved him deeply, and he will never be forgotten or replaced in our lives."
Bradlee's Watergate fame was sealed with the movie "All the President's Men," in which he was portrayed by actor Jason Robards.
— Washington Post (@washingtonpost) October 21, 2014
Bradlee lived a life as rich as his family name. Born into privilege in Boston, he graduated from Harvard. As a young man he lived in Paris for a time, working for the American embassy. He then joined Newsweek and eventually the Washington Post, where he served as the executive editor from 1968 until his retirement in 1991.
A prominent figure in the glamorous days of the Kennedy Administration, he was a close friend of both John and Jackie Kennedy.
Bradlee was a major player in those heady days when Georgetown dinner parties probably shaped government policy more than Congress.
He added to his stature in 1978 when he married the young style section reporter, Sally Quinn, who was 20 years his junior.
Since retiring, Bradlee wrote a memoir entitled "A Good Life" in 1995 and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama last year.
"A true newspaperman, he transformed the Washington Post into one of the country's finest newspapers, and with him at the helm, a growing army of reporters published the Pentagon Papers, exposed Watergate, and told stories that needed to be told - stories that helped us understand our world and one another a little bit better," President Obama said in a statement Tuesday. "The standard he set - a standard for honest, objective, meticulous reporting - encouraged so many others to enter the profession."
As for journalism, Bradlee once said, "I don't mean to sound arrogant, but we are in a holy profession.”