The 60-year-old spent nearly two decades at the networkd
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Drew Griffin, a CNN journalist who won a Peabody Award for an investigation into fatal delays at veterans hospitals, prompting legislative action, died Dec. 17, according to a CNN spokesperson. He was 60.
You are reading: Drew Griffin, veteran CNN investigative journalist, dies at 60
He had cancer, the network said.
Griffin spent nearly two decades at CNN, joining the network in 2004. His deeply reported, months-long investigations often led to policy changes. In 2018, he and his colleagues uncovered sexual assault and abuse cases against more than 100 Uber drivers, leading the company to bring in new safety features and revamp its background-check protocols.
Two years earlier, Griffin won an Emmy Award for uncovering the fraudulent moneymaking practices deployed by Trump University.
Griffin’s recent work focused on the challenges to American democracy in the aftermath of the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection; his coverage was cited in court filings by the Justice Department and the House committee investigating the riots.
CNN CEO Chris Licht called Griffin’s death a “devastating loss” for the network and the journalism community. “He cared about seeking the truth and holding the powerful to account,” Licht said in a newsroom email. “He was hard-hitting, but always fair.”
Licht praised Griffin’s “unparalleled” work ethic and said he was working on an investigation right until the day he died.
Griffin’s reporting took him around the world. In Somalia, he covered a devastating famine, in Singapore he reported on illegal drift net fishermen and in El Salvador he narrated stories of Los Angeles gang members. While reporting on Hurricane Harvey in Texas in 2017, he rescued a man from a sinking truck.
“CNN This Morning” anchor Don Lemon broke down while announcing Griffin’s death on-air. Calling him the network’s “heartbeat,” Lemon said, “I could not have met someone who was more kind to me, more welcoming to everyone.”
Licht shared in his email that Griffin hand-wrote thank-you notes to people who appeared in his stories. But Mr. Griffin was also known as a dogged interviewer, chasing hard-to-get people, getting them to reveal difficult truths and asking unwavering questions.
In 2008, then vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin gave CNN her first interview, with Griffin pushing Palin on a report that found she had made an ethics violation in her handling of the firing of her estranged brother-in-law, an incident that became known as “Troopergate.”
His exclusive interview with a former Trump University instructor revealed how the institute focused on luring participants to pay for more seminars rather than teaching them real estate strategies. “We were bringing in the money,” the instructor shared with Griffin.
In an obituary published by CNN, his colleagues remembered him as a private person who made sure to spend time with his family after finishing work. He is survived by his wife, Margot; three children, Ele, Louis and Miles; and two grandchildren.
Andrew Charles Griffin was born in 1962 to Michael James Griffin and Judith Griffin. His father, a civil engineer, served in the U.S. Army and retired from the Cook County Highway Department. His mother, a lawyer, served as a lead attorney in the Illinois state appellate research division.
Griffin spent 10 years working at CBS News 2 in Los Angeles before he joined CNN. A communications graduate from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, he began his career as a reporter and cameraman for WICD-TV in Illinois and later in Florida, Washington and South and North Carolina.
When he was awarded the Everett McKinley Dirksen Award for Distinguished Reporting of Congress in 2015, Griffin joked that it was rare to be welcomed in Washington – a nod to the tough questions he was known for asking lawmakers. A compilation video prepared by CNN showed subjects slamming doors in his face, or walking – or even running – away to avoid him. He kept asking anyway.