Lesley Stahl's Husband Aaron Latham, Journalist and 'Urban Cowboy' Screenwriter, Dead at 78

"It seems the virus accelerated his Parkinson's," Lesley Stahl previously told PEOPLE after she and her husband Aaron Latham tested positive for COVID-19 at the same time

Aaron Latham and NYCB Board Member Lesley Stahl attend the 2019 New York City Ballet Spring Gala
Photo: Gary Gershoff/Getty

Aaron Latham, journalist, author and screenwriter, has died. He was 78.

The Urban Cowboy writer, who was married to CBS News' Lesley Stahl since 1977, died Saturday at Bryn Mawr Hospital in Pennsylvania, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Latham had Parkinson's Disease and his health worsened after he contracted COVID-19 in 2020. Stahl, 80, previously opened up to PEOPLE after she and her husband tested positive for the coronavirus "at the same time."

"I had it much worse than he did. I ended up getting pneumonia and had to go to the hospital," she said last year. "Then I recovered 100 percent."

The 60 Minutes correspondent explained that Latham had the opposite reaction. "My husband had a very mild case, but he has Parkinson's Disease and it played havoc with his disease, sadly. It seems the virus accelerated his Parkinson's," Stahl added.

Lesley Stahl and husband Aaron Latham during Urban Cowboy the Musical opening night
Robin Platzer/FilmMagic

Stahl also recounted first meeting her husband as they both reported on the Watergate scandal in 1972, when Latham wrote for New York Magazine.

"He called me out of the blue," she recalled. "I think I slammed the phone down on him. We dated through the hearings and the trials. Then finally Nixon resigned, and we looked at each other and we said, 'What are we going to talk about now?'"

In 1977, the then-newlywed couple spoke to PEOPLE about their love story, as Latham remembered seeing Stahl on the news before they met in person.

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"I said, 'My God, I'd better turn on the TV to see what this person looks like,'" he recounted, adding that he "was terrified. I thought, 'She's so beautiful.' My heart stopped, my mouth dried up and I said, 'What have I got myself into?'"

Latham said of their first date: "I found out I didn't have to worry about whether or not I could talk, because I never got the chance."

He laughed as Stahl replied: "Oooh, cruel."

The couple tied the knot in 1977 and they shared daughter Taylor Stahl Latham, 44.

Born Oct. 3, 1943 in Spur, Texas, Latham graduated from Amherst College in 1966, where he was the editor of the school's newspaper. He later received his Ph.D. from Princeton.

As a journalist, he contributed to The New York Times, The Washington Post, Rolling Stone and Esquire. He also co-wrote the films Urban Cowboy (1980) and Perfect (1985) with director James Bridges, both starring John Travolta based on articles by Latham.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from the CDC, WHO and local public health departments.

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