Veteran Washington D.C. news anchor Jim Vance, the longest serving in the city’s history and a pioneer prized for his grace on the air, has died at the age of 75.
What was his cause of death?
Vance revealed publicly in May that he was battling cancer, although he didn’t reveal the type. “He announced his diagnosis with cancer earlier this year,” The Washington Post reported.
Vance’s station said he died “after a brief battle with cancer.”
“I’ve had to take some time off, but it’s not my own choosing,” Vance told viewers on May 4. “A couple weeks ago doctors gave me some news. It’s the kind of news nobody wants to hear. They said I have cancer, and I need treatment. So, I have been getting that treatment. I have been coming into work with my partners here whenever I can, and I shall continue to do that. In the meantime I’m doing OK. Voice is a little weak…I love what I do. I love the people with whom I am privileged every day to do it.”
On July 22, Vance’s station announced that he had died.
“For more than 45 years, Jim Vance was not only the soul of NBC4 but of the entire Washington area,” NBC4 president Jackie Bradford said in a statement. “His smooth voice, brilliant mind and unforgettable laugh leaves each of us with a tremendous void.” Vance was an anchorman for the station for more than 45 years; you can see old footage of Vance on WRC-TV here.
Bradford’s July 22 statement began: “We are heartbroken to announce that Jim Vance died this morning.” Further details about the circumstances of his death were not revealed.
The Washington Post called Vance the “dean of Washington news anchors.”
According to The Post, Vance was a reporter for the television station for three years before becoming news anchor way back in 1972. His 1989 pairing with Doreen Gentzler helped put the newscast in first place for more than 25 years, reported The Post.
Many people, from other well-known journalists to average fans, dubbed Vance a legend.
Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser wrote on Twitter, “Our thoughts & prayers are w/ his family. Jim Vance was a steady voice who shared the news – good or bad – with grace. This is a loss for DC.”
He won many awards during his lengthy career, including 19 Emmy awards.
Vance spoke openly about drug addiction, went fishing with George H. W. Bush, was consulted by Marion Barry, and helped form a new black elite in Washington D.C., the Post reported.
He was born in Pennsylvania in hard-scrabble circumstances after his father died and his mother left him to be raised by relatives.
Vance had three children, Dawn, Amani, and Brendon. He was married three times, the final time to Kathy McCampbell Vance, a former television producer. In 2011, the Washingtonian reported, “A father of three, Vance has been married to former Channel 4 news producer Kathy McCampbell Vance for 24 years and lives in DC’s Spring Valley.”