Arthur Ochs “Punch” Sulzberger, the former publisher of The New York Times, died on Saturday at the age of 86, the newspaper confirmed.
Sulzberger, who was the newspaper’s publisher from 1963 until 1993 and then stepped down as chairman in 1997, died in his home in Southampton, New York, after battling illness.
“Punch, the old Marine captain who never backed down from a fight, was an absolutely fierce defender of the freedom of the press,” his son and current publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr. told The Associated Press.
President Barack Obama also heralded Sulzberger as a “firm believer in the importance of a free and independent press--one that isn’t afraid to seek the truth, hold those in power accountable, and tell the stories that need to be told,” according to a statement.“Over the course of more than 30 years, Arthur helped transform the New York Times and secure its status as one of the most successful and respected newspapers in the world,” the statement reads.
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