Remembered with immense warmth by colleagues and friends, journalist Peter Harvey was almost synonymous with the television network where he spent the majority of his career.

Harvey died in Sydney on March 2 aged 68 after a battle with pancreatic cancer. He had been hospitalised for several days.

The award-winning newsman with the rich baritone voice was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in October last year.

Harvey was best known for his 37-year career with the Nine Network and enjoyed cult status for his sign-off with the famous pause: "Peter Harvey ... Canberra".

Born in Bellevue Hill in 1944 to a journalistic family, Harvey began his career on Sydney's Daily Telegraph, where in 1964 he received a Walkley Award for the best piece of newspaper reporting, shared with his colleagues Noel L Bailey, Geoff Clancy and James Henderson.

He also worked for The Guardian newspaper in the UK where he received the British Reporter of the Year Award and later covered the Vietnam war for Newsweek magazine.

In a 2008 interview with the Time Out website Harvey said the war changed him "irrevocably".

He told the website he'd spent most of his time stationed with US Marines on the border between north and south Vietnam, at Da Nang.

"We got in a couple of difficult situations out on patrol - blazing fire fights where I found myself lying face down in the mud saying `Dear God, get me out of here'." he said.

But despite the terrifying situations he found himself in, he said journalists have it relatively easy in wartime.

"The real heroes are the photographers and cameramen - the risks those guys take to get the shots are stunning."

After Vietnam, Harvey joined the Nine Network in 1975 and headed its Canberra bureau for many years, including covering the dismissal of the Whitlam government that year.

While Harvey will be remembered for his distinctive voice, story telling and globe-trotting exploits, his colleagues fondly remembered his kindness.

"One of the things I most admired about him was the way he mentored younger staff. Peter's was a generous spirit, he's a real loss to journalism," Laurie Oakes told Nine.

Ray Martin lamented the loss of a character.

"Journalism, like politics and life, is full of bland, colourless people," he said.

"He is full of colour."

Harvey used to laugh at the fact youngsters imitated his Canberra sign-off despite leaving the capital in 1997.

"I'm getting kids aged 18 and 19 coming up to me and saying, `Would you say Peter Harvey, Canberra' for me," he recently told the ABC.

Harvey was with his wife Anne in Venice last year celebrating their 45th wedding anniversary when he fell ill.

The couple returned home to Australia and Harvey was diagnosed with cancer.

Channel Nine boss David Gyngell broke the news of Harvey's death to staff in a message and paid tribute to the veteran newsman.

"And as we all witnessed, he confronted the inevitable with his trademark mix of courage, selflessness and humour," he said.

"That was simply inspiring. But not the least bit surprising."

"It was the mark of the man that Peter insisted on coming to work and fronting the cameras right to the end always grateful of ours and the literally thousands of well wishes from the public, but actually embarrassed about being the centre of so much fuss."

Peter's legacy will be his continuous high quality award-winning journalism for the better part of five decades, and the huge respect of his peers across Australian journalism and politics, Gyngell said.

"And that of young journalists wherever he worked, for whom his time, advice and warmth was legendary.

"But beyond that, Peter Harvey so clearly won the respect and friendship of his audience - the millions of people who came to trust him, and enjoy what he did and the special way he did it.

"Australians can pick a good bloke. And they found one in Harves. Indeed, the best of the best."

On Twitter, Channel Nine colleague Mark Burrows said: "Rest easy Harves. The grand man of news and a gentleman every step of the way."

He is survived by his wife, Anne, his journalist children Claire and Adam, and his grandson Rory.

 

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