Former TODAY news anchor Lew Wood dies at 84

Lew Wood, a former TODAY anchor who covered the civil rights movement and John F. Kennedy's presidency, has died at 84 years old.

Wood succeeded Frank Blair as the news anchor on TODAY in 1975, remaining with the show for a year before going on to a career in public relations. He previously anchored the Six O'Clock News at WNBC-TV in New York. Wood died of kidney failure at a hospice in Riverside County, Calif., on Wednesday.

Before his time with NBC, Wood covered Vietnam and the civil rights movement, once accompanying Martin Luther King on a march. Wood also reported on a breakfast speech by JFK on Nov. 22, 1963 for CBS News, taking a personal photo of the president only hours before Kennedy left for the Dallas motorcade in which he was shot.

“He was a workhorse, very steady and reliable, excellent reporter and had good on-camera presence," former colleague Dan Rather told The Associated Press.

Wood began his career in 1952 at WDZ-AM in Decatur, Ill., after graduating from Purdue University. After leaving TODAY, Wood worked in public relations as a media trainer for Fortune 500 companies until his retirement in 2006. He is survived by his wife, Monique; daughters Carole Gorenflo, Brigitte Wood and Lara Wood; son, Robert; 10 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.