Vietnam Gives Condolences For AP War Correspondent

Published February 7, 2012 3:09AM (EST)

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Vietnam has extended its condolences for late Associated Press correspondent George Esper, who covered both war and peace in the country he came to love.

The Foreign Ministry delivered a letter to the AP's Hanoi bureau Monday remembering a "kind and caring gentleman and friend" whose "professionalism and tenacity impressed us very much."

Esper died Feb. 2 in Massachusetts after a long illness. He was 79.

He reported on the Vietnam War for 10 years from Saigon, the former U.S.-backed capital of South Vietnam. He was among a handful of journalists who refused to leave when it fell to the northern communists on April 30, 1975.

Esper returned to the country in 1993 to open the AP's first postwar bureau in Hanoi, which he oversaw for more than a year. He maintained close ties with many Vietnamese from both the north and south after leaving.

He retired from AP in 2000 after 42 years, having earned the news service's highest writing title, special correspondent. He went on to teach journalism at West Virginia University, his alma mater, for more than a decade.

By Salon Staff

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