Cokie Roberts, ABC Political Journalist, Dies at 75

By The Associated Press

NEW YORK—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 of complications from breast cancer in Washington on Sept. 17. 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 Congress. Roberts worked in local news and CBS News before joining NPR to cover Congress in 1978. She joined ABC a decade later, not leaving NPR.

She co-anchored the Sunday political show “This Week” with Sam Donaldson from 1996 to 2002.

Political journalist Cokie Roberts
Political journalist Cokie Roberts in Washington in 2010. (Randy Sager/ABC via AP)

In a recent interview, she acknowledged struggling with her health.

“Over the summer, I have had some health issues which required treatment that caused weight loss. I am doing fine,” she said. “I very much appreciate the kind comments I have received and expect to be, as I have been, working away in the days and months to come, covering what promises to be a fascinating election. I am grateful to everyone who has been in touch and sent their well wishes. Thanks for caring.”

She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002 before it was successfully treated. “Fortunately, in the course of my efforts to inform others about the disease, I learned about the benefits of early detection,” she told the Washington Post. “Now I am the beneficiary of that information.”

In a 2017 interview with Kentucky Educational Television, she spoke about her lengthy career in broadcast journalism.

“It is such a privilege—you have a front seat to history,” she said. “You do get used to it, and you shouldn’t, because it is a very special thing to be able to be in the room … when all kinds of special things are happening.”

Former President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura, called Roberts a talented, tough and fair reporter.

“We respected her drive and appreciated her humor,” the former president said. “She became a friend.”

Former First Lady Laura Bush and National Archives Foundation Vice Chair of Board Cokie Roberts onstage
Former First Lady Laura Bush and National Archives Foundation Vice Chair of Board Cokie Roberts onstage during the National Archives Foundation Annual Gala, after Laura Bush was given the Records Of Achievement Award, at The National Archives in Washington, on Oct. 10, 2018. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images for National Archives Foundation)

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.

Epoch Times Reporter Jack Phillips contributed to this report.