NEW YORK (Reuters) - Journalist Robert Pierpoint, 86, a former White House correspondent for CBS News who covered six presidents, has died, CBS News said on Sunday.

Pierpoint, a resident of Santa Barbara, Calif., who retired in 1990 after four decades with CBS News, died on Saturday after complications from hip surgery, the network said in a news release.

He reported -- on television and radio -- on the Korean War, and he was a White House correspondent from the Dwight Eisenhower administration in 1957 through the Jimmy Carter administration in 1980.

His favorite president to cover was John F. Kennedy, CBS News said, and he was in Dallas the day Kennedy was killed there.

Pierpoint, who wrote a 1981 book called "At the White House" about covering presidents, reported on Watergate and the Pentagon Papers and, later as a State Department correspondent, the Iran hostage crisis.

"Bob was a great friend to me and he taught me many a lesson on how to develop sources," CBS News' chief Washington correspondent Bob Schieffer said on Face the Nation on Sunday.

Schieffer, that show's host, told viewers that Pierpoint got many stories while playing tennis.

"One Saturday, he came directly from the court to film a report on the White House lawn," Schieffer said. "Viewers saw him only from the waist up -- but those who saw him full frame figured out quickly where he got the story."

Pierpoint, a native of Redondo Beach, Calif., is survived by his wife of 52 years, Patricia, as well as a sister, four children and five grandchildren.

(Reporting by Corrie MacLaggan in Austin, Texas, editing by Ellen Wulfhorst)