William Heath, 78, an award-winning journalist and former bureau chief for the Associated Press who oversaw news coverage during some of Latin America's most turbulent times, has died.

Mr. Heath, who headed AP bureaus in Peru, Venezuela, and Argentina, died Nov. 29 at a New Mexico hospital as a result of complications following colon cancer surgery, family members said. He retired from AP in 1998 and had lived in New Mexico for the last few years.

An Idaho native, Mr. Heath graduated from the University of New Mexico and was first hired by the Albuquerque bureau of AP in 1961 for a temporary assignment that kicked off a decades-long career with the news organization.

During his career, Mr. Heath covered the overthrow of Salvador Allende in Chile, the Peruvian earthquake of 1970, and the 1982 Falkland Islands war. In 1985, he received the oldest award in international journalism, the Maria Moors Cabot Prize, for excellence in reporting on Latin America and the Caribbean. - AP