Washington, D.C. journalist Jim Vance dies at 75

The legendary newsman was one of the first African Americans to anchor a major market news program

Published July 22, 2017 11:28AM (EDT)

 (NBC Washington)
(NBC Washington)

Legendary Washington, D.C. news anchor Jim Vance has passed away at the age of 75, his longtime employer, WRC-TV, announced Saturday.

Since 1969, Vance brought the news to the nation's capital for NBC's Washington affiliate. He was elevated to main co-anchor in 1972, becoming one of the first African Americans in the country to hold that position.

The 19-time Emmy award winner was known for his calm demeanor and the ease with which he delivered hard news. His 11:00 p.m. newscasts with co-anchors Doreen Gentzler and George Michael often drew more viewers than the national cable news shows.

The longtime journalist suffered from a cocaine addiction in the 1970s and 1980s and was always candid about his rehabilitation process.

He announced in May of this year that he was diagnosed with cancer.

WRC-TV did not provide a cause of death.

Jackie Bradford, president and general manager of WRC-TV, provided the following statement.

"We are heartbroken to announce that Jim Vance died this morning. For more than 45 years, Jim Vance was not only the soul of NBC4 but of the entire Washington area. His smooth voice, brilliant mind and unforgettable laugh leaves each of us with a tremendous void," Bradford said.

"Vance always celebrated the good and acknowledged the parts of life that didn’t go so well. That made him a great man," the statement added. "To everyone in the Washington area who is heartbroken today, please know we grieve right along with you. Jim loved his job, his family and Washington with all his heart, and we will all cherish the legacy he has left us forever."

By Taylor Link

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