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Decorated Canadian journalist Peter Worthington dies

May 13, 2013 at 4:10 PM   |   Comments

TORONTO, May 13 (UPI) -- Globe-trotting Canadian journalist Peter Worthington, co-founder of the Toronto Sun, died after a short illness, his family said. He was 86.

Worthington, who won four National Newspaper Awards -- Canada's equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize -- reported for a decade on war-torn Africa, then from behind the Iron Curtain in Moscow and was present in the basement of the Dallas police station when Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald, the suspected assassin of U.S. President John F. Kennedy.

Worthington served as editor in chief at the Sun for 12 years, founding it with Doug Creighton out of the ashes of the defunct Toronto Telegram. He remained as a columnist for the Sun until last week when he was admitted to a hospital suffering from a staph infection.

The (Toronto) Globe and Mail said Worthington's son-in-law, former George W. Bush aide David Frum, remembered his father-in-law fondly.

"A gifted athlete and a shrewd businessman, Peter Worthington excelled at everything he did," Frum wrote. "He seemed beyond ordinary human weakness: He suffered a heart attack 30 years ago and was saved by a bypass operation. He filed a series of columns for the Sun detailing his operation, and within a very few weeks afterward, celebrated his recovery by climbing China's Mount Gonga."

In what Frum said was typical of Worthington's style, the newspaperman had written his own obituary, to run Tuesday in the Sun -- his defense against getting scooped, even in death.

Other colleagues agreed with Frum.

"People over use the term 'force of nature' but Worthington truly was," said John Paton, chief executive officer of Digital First Media and founding publisher at the Ottawa Sun, a newspaper Worthington also helped found.

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