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TV meteorologist who helped launch the Weather Channel dies

UPDATED: Sun., Jan. 21, 2018

John Coleman, weather channel founder, left, and Frank Batten, publisher of the Norfolk, Va., Virginian-Pilot and Ledger-Star, and chairman and chief executive of Landmark Communications, Inc., left, are seen during a news conference July 30, 1981 in New York. Coleman, the founder of The Weather Channel and longtime KUSI weatherman, died Saturdaty night, Jan. 20, 2018, at home in Las Vegas, said his wife Linda Coleman. He was 83. (Marty Lederhandler / Associated Press)
John Coleman, weather channel founder, left, and Frank Batten, publisher of the Norfolk, Va., Virginian-Pilot and Ledger-Star, and chairman and chief executive of Landmark Communications, Inc., left, are seen during a news conference July 30, 1981 in New York. Coleman, the founder of The Weather Channel and longtime KUSI weatherman, died Saturdaty night, Jan. 20, 2018, at home in Las Vegas, said his wife Linda Coleman. He was 83. (Marty Lederhandler / Associated Press)
Associated Press

LAS VEGAS – John Coleman, who co-founded the Weather Channel and was the original meteorologist on ABC’s “Good Morning America” during a six-decade broadcasting career, has died, his wife said Sunday. He was 83.

Linda Coleman told the Associated Press her husband died Saturday night at home in Las Vegas. She did not give a cause.

The Texas native got his first TV job while still a student at the University of Illinois. Coleman worked at several local stations in Chicago and the Midwest before joining “GMA” when it launched in 1975, staying with the program for seven years.

He served as CEO of the Weather Channel for about a year after helping launch it in 1981.

Two years later the American Meteorological Society named Coleman their Broadcast Meteorologist of the year.

Coleman went on to join KUSI-TV in San Diego, where he spent 20 years as a weatherman before retiring in 2014. Jason Austell, an anchor for the station’s “Good Morning San Diego,” tweeted that Coleman was “a beloved meteorologist.”

“This is a big loss for the weather community,” said Alex Tardy, a forecaster at the National Weather Service. “He brought a lot of energy and color and enthusiasm to forecasting. My kids loved watching him on TV.”

Tardy also said Coleman never tried to push his skepticism about climate change being man-made.

“We had good talks,” Tardy told the San Diego Union-Tribune. “I enjoyed it.”

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