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Tom Brokaw announces retirement after 55 years at NBC News

He's the only anchor to have helmed all three of NBC News' flagship programs: "TODAY," "Nightly News" and "Meet the Press."
Image: Tom Brokaw
As special correspondent Tom Brokaw marks his 50th anniversary at NBC on TODAY on Jan. 27, 2017.Nathan Congleton / TODAY

Legendary NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw announced his retirement on Friday, closing the curtain on his half-century-long career chronicling some of the most tumultuous times in U.S. history.

Brokaw, 80, will hang up his mic as the only anchor to have ever led all three of NBC's primary news shows: "Nightly News," "TODAY" and "Meet the Press."

"During one of the most complex and consequential eras in American history, a new generation of NBC News journalists, producers and technicians is providing America with timely, insightful and critically important information, 24/7," Brokaw said in a statement. "I could not be more proud of them."

While Brokaw has won numerous, prestigious journalism awards, including Peabodys, Duponts, Emmys and The Edward R. Murrow Award for Lifetime Achievement in Broadcasting, he could be best known for his work documenting the sacrifices made by Americans during World War II.

His 1998 book "The Greatest Generation" profiled many of those Americans who came of age during that difficult stretch of U.S. history.

Brokaw began his NBC career in the Los Angeles bureau, where the network now runs its West Coast broadcast hub from the Brokaw News Center.

Former President Richard Nixon is interviewed by NBC's Tom Brokaw at the The Richard Nixon Library and Museum in 1990 in Yorba Linda, Calif.Robert Lachman / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

He covered future President Ronald Reagan’s first run for public office, the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy and the 1968 presidential campaign won by Richard Nixon.

He moved to the nation's capital in 1973 and worked as a NBC News White House correspondent during the Watergate scandal, which forced Nixon out of office in 1974.

NBC News' Tom Brokaw in March 1978.NBC

Then in 1976, Brokaw co-hosted the "TODAY" show before becoming anchor and managing editor of "NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw" in 1983.

He led the team there for 22 years before stepping down in late 2004 to become a special correspondent for NBC. He also served as moderator of "Meet the Press" immediately after the untimely death of Tim Russert in 2008.

President Barack Obama awarded Brokaw the Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, in 2014.