Jeff Labrecque
August 19, 2009 AT 04:15 PM EDT

Don Hewitt died of cancer today, at age 86, according to CBS News. The creator of 60 Minutes had worked at CBS since the 1940s, directing news icons like Edward Murrow and Walter Cronkite. He produced news coverage of the 1960 Kennedy-Nixon debates, political assassinations, and the space race, but raised the bar for journalism and television when he launched 60 Minutes in 1968. The show became a top-10 hit for a record 23 straight seasons.

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