"For a journalist, there are few joys greater than the opportunity to craft and contribute reports on subjects ranging from the weighty, to the ephemera of a changing culture. CNN has offered me the opportunity to do so, and for that I am grateful. I will continue in various guises.
"I could go on, but I won't."
Utley's producer at CNN recalled him as a mentor. "He was a journalistic giant, who took me under his wing as a researcher and producer when I first started with CNN," Alex Walker said in a Facebook posting. "Garrick taught me how to write for television and helped me develop an eye for pictures ... My fondest memories are chats we had in his office late in the day. I would pick his brain about his long, storied career."
Walker noted Utley's love for his wife, who called him "Big Man," and for the opera broadcasts he hosted for PBS, but he said it was something else that most impressed him. "Garrick loved to laugh, and that's what I will miss most. Sometimes he would laugh so long and hard and start shaking. It was just the funniest thing in the world. I will miss that man. Such a tremendous loss today for journalism and for me personally. Rest in peace, Big Man."
After departing CNN, Utley went into academia, helping create the Levin Institute for International Relations and Commerce at the State University of New York and serving as professor of broadcasting and journalism at SUNY Oswego.
During his career, he received a number of honors, including an Edward R. Murrow Award and a George Foster Peabody Award.
He also served on the boards of the Council on Foreign Relations, Carleton College and Public Radio International, the board of advisers of Medecins Sans Frontieres and as chairman of the American Council on Germany.
The couple had no children. "I always thought it was because Garrick traveled so much," Gertje Utley said. But they were "blessed with" several godchildren and found happiness in other ways, she said. "If you never become parents, you remain lovers," she said.
Utley's 2000 memoir, "You Should Have Been Here Yesterday: A Life Story in Television News," was described by the New York Times as "a moving account of Utley's experiences in the business" and a history of television news.
"He openly acknowledges his frustrations at both the limitations of reporting and television's corporate parents' squeezing of foreign news in the name of profits," it says. "Still, he chooses to see the positive. And while he regrets the decline of traditional foreign news reporting, he remains optimistic about new media taking up the slack, writing that all the new sources will offer 'more in both breadth and depth. That is what makes the future in electronic and digital journalism so exciting.'"
"He was a big, big guy," NBC's Matt Lauer said on Friday's "Today" of the 6-foot-6-inch man. "He was an imposing figure physically, but also intellectually. He was a smart man."
During a 2012 reunion of NBC hosts, Utley said of his work as a foreign correspondent, "It was wonderful to have this platform and the wherewithal and the budgets to go out into the world."
NBC meteorologist Al Roker said Utley had always wanted to be a country singer. "He had a great voice," Roker said.
His widow said she had not heard that, but "I know that he loved country music when he was young."
Utley's other brother, David, lives in Madison, Wisconsin.