Tributes pour in following the death of top German television journalist Fritz Pleitgen

Tributes pour in following the death of top German television journalist Fritz Pleitgen

Tributes pour in following the death of top German television journalist Fritz Pleitgen. Image: @WerthMathias/Twitter

GERMANY’S Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach has led tributes for Fritz Pleitgen, who “represented public broadcasting with format and quality.”

Fritz Pleitgen died on Thursday, September 15 at the age of 84, Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR) announced in Cologne on Friday, September 16.

Pleitgen had worked as a journalist at WDR since 1963 and was its director from 1995 to 2007 – he was considered one of the most influential German journalists and media makers.

Health Minister Karl Lauterbach, who recently helped pass the new mandatory Covid rules in Germany, added: “His commitment to cancer research was valuable and exemplary. His fate shows: we must invest more in cancer research.”

In 2020, Pleitgen, who was then honorary president of the German Cancer Aid, public announced that he been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He had lived in Bergisch Gladbach until his death.

Fritz Pleitgen, who lived in Bergisch Gladbach until his death, is survived by his wife, three sons and a daughter.

His son Frederik Pleitgen is also a television journalist. When he went to Moscow as a CNN correspondent in 2018, his father confessed: “I envy him that.”

ARD Press Club wrote: “We mourn Fritz Pleitgen. The former @WDR director died yesterday evening in Cologne at the age of 84. He was an impressive personality and a role model for all journalists. Pleitgen moderated the #Presseclub around 300 times. We will miss him.”

Stefan Brandenburg wrote: “Fritz Pleitgen was a role model for an entire generation of journalists. A great reporter and a great director. He shaped the WDR with courage, foresight and independence.”

“I have followed Fritz Pleitgen’s reports since my youth, when he was a correspondent in Moscow, East Berlin and Washington. I associate many programs on important events with his person, such as this one on German unity.”

“Fritz Pleitgen. He is credited with presenting the WDR lunchtime magazine, which I love so much: “Hello, ladies and gentlemen, good morning, dear students.”

“He was a gentleman.”

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Written by

Matthew Roscoe

Originally from the UK, Matthew is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at