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'60 Minutes' producer Harry Radliffe II has died

Harry Radliffe, one of the legendary producers of

Harry Radliffe, one of the legendary producers of "60 Minutes," has died. Credit: CBS News

Harry Radliffe -- one of the legendary producers of "60 Minutes" -- has died, CBS announced late Tuesday. He was 66, and had been suffering from colon cancer. 

Here's the statement from "60" chief Jeff Fager, and the sentiment, doubtless, is widely shared:

“It is hard to imagine not having Harry with us anymore. He has been an essential part of our lives, our broadcast, and our entire news organization. His body of work is among the most remarkable and diverse in 60 Minutes history. He was elegant, decent and a wonderful friend to so many of us. We are all better off that Harry was in our lives. We will miss him very much."

Radliffe, simply put, worked with 'em all -- from Cronkite to Wallace, and every other major talent at a news division brimming with them. His name, officially "Harry Radliffe II," appeared on countless "60" reports over the years, and while he was never, or rarely, on camera, Radliffe was a big part of the muscle and tendon of TV's most famous news magazine.

IMDB credits him with sixty-seven reports on "60" over a period beginning in 1995, while he did an additional twenty between '90 and '95, mostly with Steve Kroft. The last "60 Minutes" Radliffe-produced story aired in May, a memorable piece entitled "Whiskey Island." It was also an especially moving one -- as it was among the last reports filed by Bob Simon, who died in a car crash on Manhattan's West Side in February. Per "60," the last report Radliffe was working on was about an orphanage in Tanzania. 

Also of note: Radliffe was the first African-American bureau chief at CBS News (London), and long worked as a producer for "The CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite," beginning in 1979. 

Radliffe -- an Indiana native who joined "60" in 1975 as an editor in the Washington bureau -- was a Middle East specialist, bonding him to Simon, one of TV's pre-eminent reporters in the region over a period of decades. Radliffe also produced another Simon gem, on the monks of Mount Athos. 

Memorial services will be announced later, per CBS, which said he is survived by his brother, Brian, and his sister, Betty Jo Williams.  

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