Alabama News Anchor Bill Bolen Dies At 89

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Alabama television anchor Bill Bolen has died at the age of 89.

Bolen died on Jan. 4, according to an obituary his family published, reports The Associated Press. Bolen's cause of death has not been released, although the anchor had been on hospice care before his passing.

Bolen, a native of Selma, worked at WBRC for 41 years before his retirement in 2010. He was a member of the University of Alabama's Communications Hall of Fame.

Bolen served in the Air Force and retired as a lieutenant colonel in the Air National Guard and Reserves in 1979.

​The American Cancer Society honored Bolen, a cancer survivor, in 1997 with its Life Inspiration Award.

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In 2001, the Alabama Cooperative Extension System honored Bolen with its Lifetime Achievement Award, and the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences gave him a Gold Circle Award.

Bolen's career in broadcasting began in radio. Starting in 1947, Bolen worked at a number of radio stations as a disc jockey and announcer, as well as in news and promotions, according to WBRC.

Bolen went on to join WBRC in August 1969, anchoring morning and nightly news segments. From 1996, he was involved with WBRC's "Good Day Alabama," hosting regular features and anchoring news cut-ins for the show.

"It breaks my heart to let you all know that Mr. Bolen has passed away," wrote Janice Rogers, who worked with Bolen on "Good Day Alabama," in a Facebook post, according to The Birmingham News.

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"He's now with his beloved [wife] Vivian, [whom] he so affectionately called Mama," Rogers wrote. "I can hardly think right now -- but his family wanted me to share the news with you because he loved you so much. Please pray for his family -- this is an enormous loss to so many."

Bolen's wife passed away in 2011 at the age of 79.

"She meant the world to him," Rogers said at the time, WBRC reports.

At the time of Bolen's retirement, Rogers said the anchor had been a comforting presence on Alabama TV.

"He has been a staple, and viewers have loved him for that," she said when Bolen retired. "Because he's such a gentleman and news is so bad in many cases, he was always a comfort, always a constant."

"He, to me, represents everything that this station means," said Rogers. "He's just been the pillar."

"When you got up and turned the TV on, no matter how hectic your morning was, you heard Bill Bolen's voice and all was right with the world," she added.

Sources: WBRC (2), AP via Seattle Times, The Birmingham News / Featured Image: Mike/Flickr / Embedded Images: WBRC/Twitter, Dixon Hayes/Twitter

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