San Francisco Chronicle
Johnny Carson, the smooth Nebraska-bred enigma who became America's cherished late-night totem and one of the world's most popular entertainers in an extraordinary 30-year run as host of "The Tonight Show," died Sunday at his home in Malibu. He was 79.
The cause of death, according to various reports, was emphysema. The most dominant television talk-show host in history died with family members at his side.
Ed McMahon, Carson's longtime announcer and perennial sidekick, said he had lost someone who was "like a brother to me." In a statement he described a "friendship that was professional, family-like and one of great respect and admiration."