Hughes Rudd, a former CBS correspondent known for his biting criticism of television news, died Tuesday in a French hospital, network officials said. He was 71.

Rudd, who retired in 1986, worked for CBS News for 20 years before going to ABC in 1979.

CBS spokesman Tom Goodman said Rudd died in a Toulouse hospital of complications following an aneurism of the aorta. Rudd lived in a small village just outside the city in southern France.

A native of Texas, Rudd was outspoken about his profession, once calling it a “comic strip medium.”

“Any complicated or serious subject can’t be explained on TV,” he told a meeting of Texas broadcasters in 1980.

Rudd began his broadcasting career with CBS as a news writer in 1959. He held a number of foreign assignments during his CBS years, including stops in Moscow; Africa, the Middle East and Vietnam, and anchored the “CBS Morning News” from 1973-77.

He was a contributing correspondent at ABC. His reports appeared on “World News Tonight,””20/20″ and other ABC news programs.

Rudd, who quit the U. of Missouri after three years to become an Army Piper Cub pilot in World War II, began his journalism career with stints at several newspapers including the Kansas City Star, the Minneapolis Tribune and the Rock Springs (Wyo.) Daily Rocket and Sunday Miner.

In a 1975 interview with the Associated Press, Rudd said he always knew he wanted to be a journalist. His first job was as a copy boy at a newspaper in his hometown of Waco, Texas.

Rudd was fond of writing and received a fellowship to study creative writing at Stanford U. in the 1950s.

He wrote stories for Harpers, Esquire, American Magazine, Paris Review, the Saturday Evening Post and other magazines and wrote a book “My Escape From the CIA and Other Improbable Events,” in 1965.

He is survived by his wife, Ann, son, Jon, of Bethesda, Md., and a grandson. Funeral arrangements were incomplete. Burial was expected to take place at Arlington National Cemetery.

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