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Longtime NPR 'Morning Edition' host Bob Edwards dies at age 76

FILE - Red Barber, left, appears with NPR's Bob Edwards on Oct. 22, 1992. Edwards, the news anchor many Americans woke up to as founding host of National Public Radio's “Morning Edition” for nearly a quarter-century, has died. NPR said he died Saturday at age 76, (AP Photo, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — Bob Edwards, who anchored National Public Radio's “Morning Edition” for just under 25 years and was the baritone voice who told many Americans what had happened while they slept, has died.

Edwards, who died Saturday, was 76 years old. NPR had no further details.

He became co-host of “All Things Considered” with Susan Stamberg in 1974 shortly after joining NPR, and was the founding anchor of “Morning Edition” in 1979. He left NPR after being replaced on the show in 2004 — a programming move that led to protests by thousands of listeners — and he joined SiriusXM satellite radio.

Edwards' deep, commanding voice gave many listeners the impression that he was older than he was. “His was the voice we woke up to,” Stamberg said.

For 12 years, he had regular conversations with veteran sportscaster Red Barber, which led to Edwards' book, “Friday with Red: A Radio Friendship.”

Edwards would tell listeners about well-known people who were celebrating birthdays. He later found out that his announcement of First Lady Rosalynn Carter's birthday surprised and saved her husband, President Jimmy Carter, who heard Edwards while out jogging; he had forgotten the birthday.

“I like sitting at the mic and being on the radio,” Edwards said shortly before leaving NPR. “That’s still a kick.”

He wrote a memoir, “A Voice in the Box: My Life in Radio,” and a historical book about the medium, “Edward R. Murrow and the Birth of Broadcast Journalism.”

John Lansing, NPR's CEO, said Edwards' former colleagues and listeners will remember him with gratitude.

“Bob Edwards understood the intimate and directly personal connection with audiences that distinguishes audio journalism from other mediums, and for decades he was a trusted voice in the lives of millions of public radio listeners,” Lansing said.

The Associated Press

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