LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A former CBS2 news veteran and an advocate for the safety of journalists in Mexico, Mike O’Connor, has died. He was 67.

O’Connor reported for KCBS-TV in the 1980s and 1990s and worked as a foreign correspondent for CBS News, National Public Radio, the New York Times and other American news organizations.

O’Connor died in his sleep Sunday in Mexico City, according to his wife, Tracy Wilkerson, the Mexico City correspondent for the Los Angeles Times.

Most recently, O’Connor worked as the Mexico representative for the Committee To Protect Journalists, a group working with reporters in Mexico who face deadly retribution from drug gangs for doing their jobs. The Times reported that O’Connor was in daily phone contact with reporters across Mexico in fear of their lives, and helped them find safe harbor.

A colleague said O’Connor was instrumental in persuading the Mexican Congress to approve a constitutional amendment that makes threatening a reporter a federal crime. More than 20 reporters in Mexico have been murdered doing their jobs in the last two decades.

O’Connor is survived by his wife and his sons Sean O’Connor of San Francisco and Gabriel O’Connor of Washington D.C.

No services were announced.

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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