Will King, one of the so-called “CNN originals” who launched television’s first 24/7 television network on June 1, 1980, and remained with the operation until his 2014 retirement, died last night.

Here is CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker’s memo to staff:

May 20, 2016

I have some sad news to share with you. Will King, a member of the CNN family for almost 35 years, passed away last night.  His wife, Linda, and children, Amelia and Spencer, were at his side.

A CNN Original, Will’s fingerprints are all over CNN as he was instrumental in establishing many of the operations that are still in place today. He was part of the team tasked with creating CNN’s second news network, CNN2 (now HLN), and worked closely with Turner International for the initial distribution of CNN in Europe, which later became a full-fledged channel in CNN International.

In 1985 he opened CNN’s Frankfurt bureau, serving as bureau chief until 1988. He then returned to Atlanta as senior international editor and directed the network’s coverage of so many historic events like the fall of the Soviet Union, Tiananmen Square, the conflict in Bosnia and the first Gulf War.

Will went on to manage operations for CNN’s international bureaus, production centers, news resources and staff until health issues forced him to retire in late 2014.

Will said he knew as far back as junior high that he wanted to work in broadcasting. I’m sure he never dreamed a career could be as rewarding as what he experienced here as an integral part of a channel that revolutionized the television industry.  A kind, sincere and brilliant journalist, he had the unique ability to remain calm in the midst of breaking news – no matter how intense or chaotic things got.

I’d like to extend my sincerest condolences to Will’s family – and to all of you in his CNN family – as we have truly lost an original.

Jeff