Reports of Walter Cronkite's health being 'exaggerated'

Internet reports that say longtime CBS newsman Walter Cronkite is "gravely ill" are exaggerated.

From Former CBS news anchor Walter Cronkite isn’t well, but he is not nearly as ill as some web sites are reporting. “His condition is being grossly exaggerated,” Cronkite’s executive assistant Cynthia Dicrocco told us today. “He’s dealing with the challenges of being a 92-year-old man.”

Thursday, Media Bistro’s TV Newser blog reported that the legendary newsman was “gravely ill” and perhaps near death. The web site did not cite a source for its information.

Dicrocco said Cronkite had been ill recently, but is recuperating at home in New York with his companion Joanna Simon, sister of singer Carly Simon. Dicrocco would not reveal the nature of Cronkite’s illness, saying the family wishes to keep it private. “But it is not true that he’s gravely ill,” she said. The fragile Cronkite, whose wife Betsy died of cancer in 2005, will not be traveling to Martha’s Vineyard this summer, where he’s been a fixture for many years. Cronkite rarely misses the celeb-heavy Possible Dreams auction benefiting Martha’s Vineyard Community Services, but we're told he’ll miss this summer’s auction, which takes place Aug. 3. Reports about Cronkite, a native of St. Joseph, began circulating online Friday morning, but CBS reps declined comment on his health.

A representative for CBS News declined to comment on Cronkite's health.

We'll keep you updated as we hear more.

Meanwhile, here's The Star's TV critic Aaron Barnhart on the news.

And, here's a column about Cronkite from Poynter's Julie Moos.

| David Frese, The Star

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