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Henry Kissinger was so old that he outlived one of his New York Times obituary writers



  • Henry Kissinger died on Wednesday, aged 100.
  • He outlived a New York Times journalist who helped with his obituary — the writer died in 2010.
  • The Times said these ‘post-mortem bylines’ happen when stories are written in advance.

Henry Kissinger died on Wednesday, aged 100. He lasted so long that he outlived one of The New York Times writers who contributed to his obituary.

At the end of the Times’ obituary, which describes Kissinger’s complex legacy as one of modern history’s most powerful secretaries of state, Michael T. Kaufman is noted as having contributed reporting.

The Times described Kaufman in the byline as “a former correspondent and editor for The Times who died in 2010” — 13 years before Kissinger.

Kaufman died of pancreatic cancer, aged 71, after a long and highly respected career in journalism.

After his retirement, he wrote books and obituaries of prominent world leaders.

But even after he died, Kaufman’s byline has cropped up over time, when famous subjects of his reporting died.

He contributed to the obituary of Osama bin Laden, who died in 2011, as well as to Kenneth Kaunda, the former president of Zambia, who passed away in 2021.

In a 2017 article, the Times explained how these rare “post-mortem bylines” occur.

“Some obituaries are ‘advances’ — written in anticipation of the death of a notable person who, at the time of writing, is very much alive,” it said.

Kissinger, who served in both the Nixon and Ford administrations, lived far longer than even his son might have expected.

David Kissinger wrote in an op-ed in The Washington Post in May that his “father’s longevity is especially miraculous when one considers the health regimen he has followed throughout his adult life.”

He explained that his dad had an unhealthy diet, didn’t play sports, and had a stressful career, but suggested his longevity might be the result of intellectual curiosity and a relentless work ethic.

The late Kissinger told CBS News in an interview that aired on May 7, when he was 99, that he was still working “about 15 hours a day.”

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