Malcolm "Mac" Kilduff, 75, the press official who publicly confirmed the death of John F. Kennedy after the president's assassination on Nov. 22, 1963, died March 3 at a hospital in Jackson, Ky. He had an aortic aneurysm and emphysema.
Mr. Kilduff told waiting reporters at a Dallas hospital about Kennedy's death. He spoke at 1:31 p.m., about an hour after the shooting. Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson, wishing to take protective measures in the event of a larger conspiracy, had asked Mr. Kilduff to delay the news until then.
"President John F. Kennedy died at approximately 1 p.m. Central Standard Time today here in Dallas," Mr. Kilduff said. "He died of a gunshot wound in the brain."
He was assistant press secretary but took the lead press role that day because secretary Pierre Salinger was with a group of Cabinet members on a plane bound for Japan.
Mr. Kilduff held a variety of media jobs in the Washington area before moving to Kentucky in 1977. There, he edited the Beattyville Enterprise, a weekly newspaper locally famous for its annual "woolly worm" survey that forecast the severity of the coming winter weather.
Malcolm MacGregor Kilduff Jr. was born in Staten Island, N.Y., and grew up in Arlington, where he was a graduate of Washington-Lee High School. He attended George Washington and Princeton universities and the Arlington Institute of Law. He was in the Navy from 1945 to 1947.
He held press and other jobs for the State Department before joining the White House in 1962.
Mr. Kilduff was traveling in the press vehicle several cars behind Kennedy's when the shots were fired from the Texas School Book Depository in Dallas.
When Mr. Kilduff got to Parkland Memorial Hospital, where Kennedy was taken, he was unsure of the president's condition. Then a doctor told him that the president was dead.
To get permission to make an announcement, he found Lyndon B. and Lady Bird Johnson. Unsure how to address Lyndon Johnson, opted for "Mr. President."
"Lady Bird kind of screamed," he said. "She realized what I was saying."
After Kennedy's death, Mr. Kilduff was assistant press secretary to Johnson and resigned in 1965 to start a public relations firm.
His other positions included information director in the 1968 presidential campaign of then-Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey, press secretary for Sen. Vance Hartke (D-Ind.) and consultant to the National Petroleum Council.
Over the years, he was called on to comment when reporters revisited the assassination. He said he was convinced Lee Harvey Oswald was the sole gunman.
"I was looking directly at the guy on the 'grassy knoll,' and he was no more carrying a gun than I was," Kilduff said, referring to reports that someone on a slight mound in front of the motorcade had fired.
He came to believe Oswald's intended victim was not Kennedy but Texas Gov. John B. Connally (D), who was seated in front of the president and was seriously wounded. Oswald had appealed his dishonorable discharge from the Marine Corps to Connally, who served as secretary of the Navy before being elected governor.
His marriages to Betty Alvino Kilduff and Lucille Patterson Kilduff ended in divorce. A son from his first marriage, Kevin Kilduff, died in 1961. His third wife, Rosemary Porter Kilduff, died in 1998.
Survivors include three children from his first marriage, Michael MacGregor "Greg" Kilduff of Silver Spring, Jeffrey Kilduff of McLean and Bonnie Kilduff-Martin of Locust Grove, Va.; and four grandchildren.