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Joel Brinkley won 1980 Pulitzer for Cambodia coverage

Associated Press

WASHINGTON - Joel Brinkley, a former New York Times reporter who won the Pulitzer Prize for international reporting in 1980, has died.

Brinkley, 61, died Tuesday at a hospital in Washington, his wife Sabra Chartrand confirmed Thursday. The cause of death was acute undiagnosed leukemia which led to respiratory failure from pneumonia, Chartrand said.

Brinkley, who began his career at The Associated Press in Charlotte, N.C., in 1975, won the Pulitzer Prize while a reporter at The Louisville Courier-Journal. He and photographer Jay Mather shared the prize for stories about the fall of Cambodia's Khmer Rouge regime. He was also a Pulitzer finalist in 1982 in local investigative specialized reporting.

Brinkley joined the Times' Washington bureau in 1983 and stayed at the paper for 23 years. He served as a correspondent, covered the White House and was also chief of the Times bureau in Jerusalem. He also served as an editor in New York and Washington.

Brinkley was the author or co-author of four books. His most recent book, "Cambodia's Curse: The modern history of a troubled land," was released in 2011.

Chartrand, also a former Times reporter, said her husband was "endlessly curious," cared deeply about the U.S. and foreign affairs and believed journalism has a role to play in a democracy.

Brinkley graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He taught journalism at Stanford University for seven years beginning in 2006, and while there wrote a weekly syndicated op-ed column on foreign policy. Most recently, he served as strategic adviser to the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.

Brinkley's father, TV news anchor David Brinkley, died in 2003. A brother, Alan Brinkley, is a noted American History professor at Columbia University.

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