Eric Talmadge, the Associated Press bureau chief in Pyongyang, North Korea, died earlier this week after a sudden heart attack while running in Japan, where he lived. He was 57 years old. Talmadge had served in the role since 2013.
The news was first reported by the wire service in a lengthy obituary on Thursday.
“For years, Eric’s sharp work in North Korea has helped shape how the entire world saw a country that many of us knew little about,” Sally Buzbee, AP’s executive editor, said. “He took that responsibility very seriously, and it was never far from his mind.”
Though he was the North Korean AP bureau chief, Talmadge, an American, was a full-time resident of Japan. His capacity as bureau chief, however, brought him regularly to North Korea and over time, made him one of the most well-versed and knowledgeable journalists covering the reclusive Communist dictatorship.
“Eric was utterly certain that with enough work and curiosity and stick-to-it-iveness, he could genuinely help the world understand North Korea. And he did,” AP’s Asia-Pacific news director Ted Anthony, who was Talmadge’s supervisor from 2014-2018, said. “Don’t ever think you really understand the North. It has more corners than anyplace I’ve ever been.”
Talmadge joined the Associated Press in 1989, joining the wire service from Tokyo’s Mainichi Shimbun newspaper.