It was to be a weekend in which the US media had plans for extensive coverage to mark the 60th anniversary of the D-Day landings.
Reagan restored a nation's pride
But cable news channels and newspapers quickly shifted gear to cover the death of former President Ronald Reagan.
"The man who proclaimed that it was 'morning in America' has reached his final sunset," said Keith Olbermann on the MSNBC network.
The Washington Post said Reagan's was perhaps "the most personal of all American presidencies".
The newspaper described Reagan as "the cheerful crusader who devoted his presidency to winning the Cold War, trying to scale back government and making people believe it was 'morning again in America'."
The Los Angeles Times said Reagan was "the only modern president to emerge from office more popular than when he entered".
He was remembered by the media as a president who restored Americans' faith and pride in their country, who stared down the Soviet Union and who launched a conservative revolution.
"To a nation hungry for a hero, a nation battered by Vietnam, damaged by Watergate and humiliated by Iran, Ronald Wilson Reagan held out the promise of a return to greatness, the promise that America would 'stand tall' again," wrote Marilyn Berger in the New York Times.
Known as the "great communicator", Reagan was remembered for his humour and his political charm.
"Even Mr Reagan's critics acknowledge that he was a masterful political performer," wrote Lou Cannon in the Washington Post.
"Drawing upon skills forged in his earlier careers in radio, films and television, Mr Reagan set the standard in using television to promote his presidency," Mr Cannon added.
Reporters and former members of administration told of personal recollections where they were disarmed by Reagan's humour, often self-deprecating.
Nancy Reagan's devotion was admired
Carl Rochelle on MSNBC remembered eating President Reagan's signature jellybean candies on his presidential jet, Air Force One.
And he recalled the days and weeks after the attempted assassination of Mr Reagan in 1981, and Nancy Reagan's devotion to her husband.
"I spent about three weeks outside of the Georgetown Hospital after he was shot. Nancy Reagan would come around asking, 'How is he? How is he?'" Mr Rochelle said.
Tom Curry of MSNBC described him "as the most successful conservative American politician of modern times".
The Washington Post's Lou Cannon wrote: "Often called the 'great communicator', the Republican president was an icon to American conservatives, whom he led out of the political wilderness."
Opening his weekly national radio show, A Prairie Home Companion, Garrison Keillor said Reagan was "a great man who befuddled us old liberals for years, mainly his great, shining charm, which never ever failed him".