04/07/2003 at 12:00 AM EDT
Hard-driving NBC News correspondent David Bloom, who would have turned 40 next month, died Sunday from an apparent blood clot while covering the war in Iraq for his network.
Tributes to the former NBC White House correspondent and then co-anchor of the weekend "Today" show -- who surrendered the latter job so he could cover the war from the frontlines -- continued to run on NBC news programs into Monday morning, with "Early Today" show anchor Nanette Hansen saying, "NBC extends its condolences to the family of David Bloom as well as to all the families who have lost loved ones during this war."
"He called everyone 'buddy,' he called everyone 'friend,'" remembered Matt Lauer on "Today." "His death has really knocked the wind out of all of us at NBC."
Bloom, a native of Edina, Minn., who lived in the New York area with his wife, Melanie, and their three daughters, was about 25 miles south of Baghdad and packing gear early Sunday morning when he suddenly collapsed. He had reportedly been complaining of leg pains for days.
He never regained consciousness and was pronounced dead from a pulmonary embolism after being airlifted to a nearby field medical unit, Allison Gollust, a spokeswoman for NBC, tells the Associated Press.
Bloom was the second American journalist to die while covering the war. Michael Kelly, editor-at-large for the Atlantic Monthly and a columnist for The Washington Post, was killed Thursday night along with a U.S. soldier when their Humvee plunged into a canal.
Both Bloom and Kelly were traveling with the U.S. Army's 3rd Infantry Division.