CNN investigative reporter Drew Griffin died Saturday after a long battle with cancer. He was 60.
“We have some very sad news to tell you,” Don Lemon told viewers Monday on “CNN This Morning,” telling them about Griffin’s work with CNN’s investigative unit starting in 2004 and his expertise on issues like sports, politics and corporate malfeasance.
Griffin won a Peabody Award for his investigation into delays in care at Veterans Affairs hospitals, which turned into a major Obama administration scandal and the resignation of then-Secretary Eric Shinseki.
Prior to joining CNN, he worked for CBS in Los Angeles for 10 years.
Lemon teared up as he discussed Griffin’s career.
“Drew was such a gifted storyteller,” co-host Kaitlin Collins said.
CNN CEO Chris Licht called Griffin’s death “a devastating loss to CNN and our entire profession” in a memo to staffers.
“A highly acclaimed investigative journalist, 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. He was hard-hitting, but always fair,” Licht continued. “These traits were reflected in his hundreds of stories over nearly two decades at CNN. His work has been honored with some of journalism’s most prestigious awards—Emmys, Peabodys and Murrows among them. But people mattered more to Drew than prizes.”
Licht said Griffin “was widely known for his ability to get even the most hostile of interviewees to open up.”
“Less known was that after conducting interviews — even the tough ones — Drew would usually mail a hand-written thank-you note to those who appeared in a story,” Licht said. “His work ethic was unparalleled. He spent long hours poring over documents and working the phones. 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.”
Licht shared highlights of Griffin’s 19-year CNN career, including the time he rescued a man from a truck during Hurricane Harvey in 2017.
“He would fly anywhere in the world for a story — but always made it a priority to get the job done and head home quickly, in order to spend as much time as possible with his family,” Licht said. “Drew was beloved and respected by the investigative team, and he will be deeply missed. I know this is heartbreaking news for everyone.”
Griffin is survived by his wife Margot, three children and two grandchildren.