April 29, 2005: Peter Jennings Thanks Viewers for Support

ByABC News
April 29, 2005, 3:34 PM

April 29, 2005 — -- ABC News' "World News Tonight" anchor Peter Jennings in a letter written today thanked those who have offered their support and get-well wishes following his diagnosis of lung cancer.

Jennings, 66, announced the diagnosis earlier this month and has been undergoing chemotherapy treatments on an outpatient basis.

"Thousands of you have spoiled me rotten with your attention in the last couple of weeks," he wrote. "Whether you have a cancer connection or not, your anecdotes, mementos, home recipes, and general all-purpose guidance and concern have all been so deeply appreciated. I hope you know.

"So many experiences have meant something special," Jennings added. "A woman in my building, who is a cancer survivor, showed up at our front door so that we could see that bald really is beautiful. She's right."

Jennings also made note of advice he received from Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., who revealed in February that he has been diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease.

"Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania wrote me a note to say that the only way to get through chemo is to 'work your way through it,' " Jennings said. "He's a tougher man than I am. I assume there are a few others out there who, like me, are going with the flow until the day gets better."

He continued: "Incidentally, Hamilton Jordan, former Chief of Staff in the Carter Administration, sent me his book 'No Such Thing as a Bad Day.' He's had cancer four times. He tells me, as have many others, that when it gets really bad, it will get better. Phew!"

Jennings ended his letter with a mention of jazz bassist Percy Heath, who succumbed to cancer this week.

"And finally, if you would, add a friend of mine to your prayers. The jazz legend Percy Heath, whose bass anchored the Modern Jazz Quartet for four decades, died of bone cancer on Sunday. He was 81 and we will sure miss him."

The text of Jennings' letter was posted on ABCNEWS.com's message board and portions were read on tonight's broadcast of "World News Tonight with Peter Jennings."

He will continue to anchor the broadcast as his health permits. Charles Gibson, Elizabeth Vargas and others have been substituting in his absence.

Jennings was named anchor and senior editor of "World News Tonight" in 1983. He has worked for ABC News since 1964.

In his more than 40 years with ABC News, Jennings has been honored with many awards for news reporting including 14 national Emmys, two Peabody Awards, several Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Awards and several Overseas Press Club Awards.