Jim Lehrer, the venerable journalist who co-founded the PBS' nightly newscast, died peacefully in his sleep Thursday, the network said.

He was 85.

Lehrer anchored the public television nightly newscast for 36 years before retiring in 2011.

"As an anchor of several iterations of the NewsHour, Jim reported the news with a clear sense of purpose and integrity, even as the world of media changed around him," an obituary published on said.

The obituary said the newsman often reminded colleagues that "it?s not about us." He had nine rules for reporting the news, including: "Assume there is at least one other side or version to every story" and "I am not in the entertainment business.?
Watch Jim Lehrer talk presidential debates with Andrea Mitchell in 2016
Sept. 26, 201608:05

Lehrer began asa newspaper reporter. He went from covering the assassination of President John F. Kennedy as a young journalist in Dallas to broadcasting reports with Robert MacNeil on the Watergate hearings, which led to the launch of their joint nightly news report.

On Nov. 22, 1963, Lehrer had been sent to Dallas to get confirmation about one detail of Kennedy's visit to the city ? would the president's car have a plexiglass bubble to protect him and the first lady from rain? As Lehrer later recounted on the NewsHour, "he approached a Secret Service agent to ask that question, and that the agent then proceeded to direct the bubble?s removal from the car."
He moderated a dozen presidential debates ? more than anyone else in U.S. history, according to PBS. His first was in 1988 and his last was in 2012. In both 1996 and 2000, he moderated all of the presidential debates.

He also authored 20 novels, inspired by his journalism career and passion for history and politics, three memoirs and several plays, and was the recipient of countless journalism awards. In 1999, he was awarded the National Humanities Medal from President Bill Clinton, and inducted into the Television Hall of Fame alongside MacNeil.