ABC News anchorman Frank Reynolds died here early today at the age of 59.

Reynolds had been ill with hepatitis since mid-April and had not appeard in his anchor slot on ABC's "World News Tonight" since then. ABC spokesman Elise Adde said Reynolds died at Sibley Hospital about 12:30 a.m.

Reynolds, a 30-year veteran of broadcasting, had been chief anchorman of "World News Tonight" since 1978.

After anchoring two daily newscasts for ABC Chicago affiliate WBKB, now WLS, Reynolds joined the network's Washington bureau in 1965, becoming its first White House correspondent. One of his sons, Dean Reynolds, now covers the White House for Cable News Network.

From 1968 to 1970, Reynolds was co-anchor with Howard K. Smith of the ABC Evening News, losing that post when Harry Reasoner came to the network from CBS.

Before being assigned to anchor ABC World News Tonight with Max Robinson and Peter Jennings, he covered political campaigns and conventions and the U.S. manned space-flight program and provided commentary of presidential speeches and news conferences.

Last month, ABC News Vice President David Burke said Reynolds' prolonged absence "has hurt us badly," lowering the ratings for World News Tonight. David Brinkley and Jennings took over for him.

Reynolds was born in East Chicago, Ind., and lived in Bethesda. He is survived by his wife, Henrietta, and five sons.