BBC Foreign correspondent Brian Hanrahan dies aged 61

Monday, December 20, 2010

The late BBC Foreign Correspondent, Brian Hanrahan

The veteran BBC Foreign Affairs correspondent Brian Hanrahan has died at the age of 61. His death, announced by the BBC on Monday morning, came just a few months after he was diagnosed with cancer.

During his career with the BBC, Hanrahan had travelled almost the whole of the world, covering such news events as the assassination of the Indian Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the massacre by Chinese troops in Tienanmen Square, Beijing, and the coming to power of Mikhail Gorbachev and the subsequent rise of the "Glasnost" era in Russia.

But it is for his coverage of the Falklands War that Hanrahan will be best remembered, and his famous quote while on board an aircraft carrier, watching Harrier Jump Jets taking off and landing, that he "counted them all out, and I counted them all back."

In 2001, Hanrahan travelled to the United States to anchor a series of special programmes concerning the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre.

Hanrahan also covered some of the more sombre events in recent British history, providing commentary and coverage with BBC News of the deaths and subsequent funerals of both Diana Princess of Wales, and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.

Commenting upon the news, BBC Director General Mark Thompson said: "Brian was a journalist of unimpeachable integrity and outstanding judgement, but his personal kindness and humanity also came through. That is why audiences and everyone who knew him here will miss him very much."

The Deputy Director General of Journalism at the BBC, Mark Byford, described Hanrahan as "one of the BBC's greatest journalists", adding: "His work covering the Falklands War produced some of the most memorable war reporting of the last 50 years. His great craft of using words sparingly but powerfully is a lasting memory for me. A beautiful writer, a beautiful man, whose passion for the BBC and for high standards in journalism inspired us all. All Brian's friends and colleagues across BBC News offer their sympathies to his family today and salute one of the giants of broadcast journalism."