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Longtime Tribune Reporter, Columnist Robert Wiedrich Dies

File Photo Of Chicago Tribune Tower (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

File Photo Of Chicago Tribune Tower (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — A highly respected former member of the Chicago journalism community has died.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Bob Conway reports, Robert Wiedrich, a Chicago native, died on Saturday at the age of 85. He had suffered from respiratory failure after a long illness, the Chicago Tribune reported.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bob Conway reports

Wiedrich joined the Tribune editorial staff in 1950, and his career went on to span 40 years.

He covered a wide range of stories, including organized crime activities and police department scandals, some of which he unearthed himself, the Tribune reported. For one example, he had himself committed to a mental institution for an exposé on the conditions in psychiatric facilities, the newspaper reported.

Colleagues tell the Tribune that among Wiedrich’s most memorable work was his coverage of the 1958 Our Lady of the Angels school fire, which left 92 children and three nuns dead.

Wiedrich also wrote the Tower Ticker gossip column for 15 years and served as associate metropolitan editor at the Tribune.

Wiedrich served as a sergeant during World War II. Upon returning, he served a stint with the fabled City News Bureau wire service for two years before joining the Tribune.

He retired from the Tribune in the early 1990s.

One former associate told the Tribune that Wiedrich loved being a newspaperman.