Bruce Johnson, a veteran news anchor with Washington, D.C., died on Sunday at 71. His wife confirmed the news of his demise on her Facebook page. Heart failure was reported to be the cause of his death.
According to CBS affiliate WUSA9 where Johnson anchored the news, he is survived by his wife and three children.
Johnson had a four-decade-long illustrating career at CBS affiliate WUSA9 before retiring in December 2020. Previously in 2018, he had taken a short hiatus after being diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
As the news of the veteran news anchor broke out in the public domain, condolences started pouring in.
The general public, his former colleagues, and leading government officials mourned the death of the legendary news anchor.
In a tweet, Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser expressed his heartfelt tribute and condoled the aggrieved family.
“Bruce Johnson was a giant of D.C. journalism, a father, grandfather, husband, & proud author. Like many Washingtonians, he’s been a part of my life since I was a little girl, delivering the news and giving voice to D.C. residents. I’m heartbroken. Rest in Heaven,” tweeted the D.C. mayor.
His competitor news channels also expressed eulogies on his demise. NBC4 news anchor Leon Harris said that “Bruce was a friend. He was a mentor to so many of us. He knew D.C. like the back of his hand, and D.C. sure knew him.”
Johnson mostly covered politics and polity on the news show and received 22 Emmy Awards for his famous broadcasts. Johnson was also an avid author as he also wrote two books about former D.C. Mayor Marion Barry and D.C. drug trafficker Rayful Edmond, reports the Hill.
Johnson started his media carrier way back in 1976 and covered some of the most important incidents in U.S. and World History over the years.
One of his notable coverage was the storming of the Wilson Building by a group of Hanafi Muslims in 1977. During the fatal attack, former mayor Marion Barry and a news reporter named Maurice Williams were shot dead by the extremists. We are told that Johnson was just behind Williams when the latter was shot while trying to enter the besieged building.
“As the elevator door opened, a Hanafi Muslim turned, a shotgun blast, and he shot Maurice,” said Johnson later while recalling the unfortunate incident.
In his recently published memoir, Johnson recalled growing up in a poor Black family in the South.
“We were public housing tenants surrounded by better off Black folk in Louisville’s segregated west end,” he wrote.
In his memoir, Johnson has also elaborately mentioned his racist encounters as a young Black reporter.
Johnson once said about his journalistic aims, “It was never my intent to be just an average reporter collecting a paycheck. I wanted to be a difference-maker.”
Johnson also trained many new and young news reporters, during his heydays and post-retirement.
Many people in the eulogies said they were always impressed by the veteran journalist’s courage, honesty, and genuine reporting politics.
“Many local politicians appreciated Johnson for his authenticity, even though his coverage could be tough. They may not have been pleased with his reporting, but they always liked Bruce because he was always genuine,” he said.