Tom Brokaw Talks Candidly About ‘The Mortality Zone’

By Mark Joyella 

NBC’s Tom Brokaw remains healthy, active, and hopeful. But in a revealing interview with Lloyd Grove, Brokaw is also blunt about what cancer has taught him about his lifespan:

When he was informed two years ago that he has multiple myeloma, an incurable blood cancer that ravages the bone marrow, his doctors told him that although the average lifespan with the disease is five years, he could very well last for another eight—meaning that, optimistically, he has six years left on the planet.

“The conceit of an anchorman is we never think we’re going to die, I suppose,” the NBC News icon tells me. “When I was diagnosed, I was 73 at the time. Now I’m 75. I’m in what I call ‘The Mortality Zone.’ ”

Brokaw’s cancer remains in remission, and he takes a low-dosage treatment of chemotherapy daily. He said he doesn’t think much about death. Asked how he hoped it would come, he said “pretty swiftly, so it doesn’t put my family through a lot of agony. I think you’ve known me long enough to know that I live a pretty vital lifestyle.”

In the interview, Brokaw declines to say another word about Brian Williams. “My whole concentration at the moment is on Lester Holt, who I think the world of, and keeping Nightly at the top of its game.”