Television icon Hugh Downs dies at 99

Downs co-hosted “20/20” with Barbara Walters for many years and was a solid journalist with a heart of gold.
2:56 | 07/03/20

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Transcript for Television icon Hugh Downs dies at 99
More now on the life of a broadcast legend. Hugh downs, he spent decades bringing the headlines of the world right into our homes here on ABC, co-hosting "20/20" alongside Barbara Walters. He was known for solid journalism and a heart of gold. Good evening, I'm Hugh downs. Reporter: This morning, tributes are pouring in for broadcast legend Hugh downs. For more than two decades downs was a staple behind the "20/20" Remember, we're in touch so you be in touch. Reporter: Bringing hard-hitting stories home to viewers but always with a friendly and reassuring voice. Making him one of the most trusted newsmen in the business. Downs becoming a TV icon, along with Barbara Walters whose working relationship lasted five decades? And I said, why don't we develop our own talent and they said, well, such as? I said, such as Barbara Walters and they said she's a writer. I said I think she'd do well on the air. Reporter: They started their partnership at NBC before finding a home here. His robust voice landing him a gig in radio at the age of 18. One of the most versatile broadcasters of all time, his comedic timing allowed him to fit in anywhere from hosting "Concentration." Well, congratulations to you on that win. Reporter: To being jack Paar's announcer on "The tonight show." In the process breaking records for the most hours on screen. I thought it was a gimmick like 3D movies and would go away. I had no idea the tail would wag the dog eventually and treat me much Kinder than radio did. Reporter: His own generosity transcended the news desk stopping by "Gma" to discuss his work with unicef. There's an effort now on the part of unicef to be sure there is a real commitment to allocation of resources, a priority for the growing minds and bodies of the young or the world will not have security. Reporter: Throughout his 99 years he swam with sharks. I reached out and grabbed his pectoral fin. Reporter: Floated in the air. Soared the skies, authored 17 books and composed music played by yo-yo ma. Hughes even had an asteroid named after him and the journalism world is reeling. Anchors and correspondents inspired by the man that founded the voice of American media, during his final appearance on "20/20," he answered a question he had asked so many others. How do you want to be I hope I be remembered as a guy who tried to do some good and who was most importantly was honest. I can't see any greatness that I would be remembered for but if people think kindly of me I'll be happy at that. Well, he was definitely great and extraordinary versatility. The fact that he thought that tell investigate was just a gimmick. Didn't know if it would stick around and the impact he made over time, just incredible. Here to stay. We're all following in his footsteps in one way or another.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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