Journalist and screenwriter Aaron Latham passed away on Saturday, his wife Lesley Stahl has announced. Latham was 78 years old, and he suffered from Parkinson's disease. Stahl told reporters from PEOPLE that Latham's condition worsened rapidly after he contracted COVID-19 in 2020.
Latham was known for decades of serious reporting, and for writing screenplays including the movie Urban Cowboy. He was married to CBS News reporter Stahl who is known for being one of the on-screen hosts of 60 Minutes. She confirmed that Latham passed away on Saturday at Bryn Mawr Hospital in Pennsylvania. Stahl had previously told PEOPLE that she believed Latham's experience with the novel coronavirus made his Parkinson's disease much worse.
"I had it much worse than he did. I ended up getting pneumonia and had to go to the hospital," the 80-year-old journalist said. "Then I recovered 100 percent. My husband had a very mild case, but he has Parkinson's disease and it played havoc with his disease, sadly. It seems the virus accelerated his Parkinson's."
Latham was born in Texas in 1943 and moved to the northeast to study journalism in college. He received a Ph.D. from Princeton. He then went on to work for some of the most prestigious publications in the country including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Rolling Stone and Esquire. He and director James Bridges collaborated to adapt two of his articles into movies -- Urban Cowboy in 1980 and Perfect in 1985. Both movies starred John Travolta.
Latham's love story with Stahl centers around the Watergate scandal. Both were reporting on the story in 1972 when they met, and Stahl told PEOPLE: "We dated through the hearings and the trials. Then finally Nixon resigned, and we looked at each other and we said, 'What are we going to talk about now?'"
Stahl and Latham got married in 1977 and had a daughter named Taylor Stahl, who is now 44 years old. At the time, they spoke to PEOPLE together, and Latham recalled seeing Stahl on TV before asking her out. He said he "was terrified. I thought, 'She's so beautiful.' My heart stopped, my mouth dried up and I said, 'What have I got myself into?'" However, ultimately he "found out I didn't have to worry about whether or not I could talk, because I never got the chance."
Stahl has not yet commented publicly on Latham's passing. There have been no announcements about a public funeral or memorial service.