Drew Griffin, the investigative journalist whose reporting for CNN on delayed care at Veterans Affairs hospitals prompted the resignation of the secretary of the department, died Saturday. He was 60.
The cause of death was not immediately made public, but Griffin had cancer, Chris Licht, CNN’s CEO, said in a email to staff members Monday. Griffin was living in the Atlanta area and died at home with his family, according to CNN.
“Drew’s death is a devastating loss to CNN and our entire profession,” Licht said. “Drew’s work had incredible impact and embodied the mission of this organization in every way. He cared about seeking the truth and holding the powerful to account.”
Griffin joined CNN in May 2004. During his time with the network, he covered a range of issues, including sexual assault allegations against Uber drivers, fraud claims against Trump University during Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, and the aftermath of the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. His work on the Capitol attack was cited in court filings by the U.S. Department of Justice, according to CNN.
“His work ethic was unparalleled,” Licht said. “Even as he battled cancer, he refused to give up on the reporting that was so important to him and was even working on an investigation until the day he passed away.”
In January 2014, Griffin led an investigative team that broke a story about at least 19 military veterans who died after their appointments at Veteran Affairs hospitals had been delayed. Thousands of other veterans were experiencing similar delays for treatment.
After CNN’s reporting, Eric Shinseki resigned as secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, facing pressure over the delay in care for veterans. Other department officials were later fired.
“We don’t have time for distractions,” President Barack Obama said when he announced Shinseki’s departure. “We need to fix the problem.”
The body of work on the veterans, “CNN Investigative Reports: Crisis at the VA,” earned a Peabody Award, one of the most prestigious recognitions in television and radio, in 2014. The reporting also earned an Edward R. Murrow Award.
“Our goal in this reporting wasn’t just to shed light on this problem,” Griffin said when he accepted the Peabody Award. “We wanted to effect change, to hold these politicians and bureaucrats responsible.”
Griffin also earned a National Press Foundation Award in 2007, and Emmy Awards in 2005, 2006 and 2007, according to CNN.
Griffin’s work centered on investigations, but he would also volunteer to cover breaking news stories, CNN said.
While covering Hurricane Harvey from Beaumont, Texas, in 2017, Griffin was about do a live report on CNN when a man nearby drove a truck into floodwater. Griffin and a photojournalist ran to rescue the man from the truck as it began to sink, a moment that was aired live.
Drew Griffin was born Oct. 21, 1962.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and began his career in journalism as a reporter and cameraman for WICD-TV in Champaign, Illinois. He went on to work in Florida, South Carolina and North Carolina and Washington, according to CNN.
In January 1994, Griffin joined CBS 2 News in Los Angeles, where he was a reporter and anchor, and helped create an investigative reporting team. While with CBS 2 News, Griffin reported from New York City to cover the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and he earned a number of local awards for his investigative reporting.
Griffin is survived by his wife Margot; three children, Ele, Louis and Miles; two grandchildren; and two brothers.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.
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