Former ABC newsman Max Robinson, the first black to anchor a network newscast, died Tuesday at Howard University Hospital from complications of AIDS. He was 49.

Before his death, the Robinson family would not confirm he had AIDS, but family friend Roger Wilkins said Robinson's posthumous wish was that his death be used to emphasize the need for AIDS treatment and education, especially among blacks.Robinson often found himself in controversy. He left ABC in 1983 after making comments about the racist nature of news coverage. As a local anchorman in Washington, D.C., he apologized on the air for firing a pistol into the ground outside his home.