Ken Ward, a reporter who recently left Channel 9 Eyewitness News, has died. He was 44.
According to Bill Fish, an investigator with the Mecklenburg County Medical Examiner’s Office, Ward’s body was picked up from Presbyterian Hospital Huntersville around 6 a.m. Wednesday morning. The cause of death was not immediately known, he said.
Ward’s last day on air with WSOC-TV was December 30. According to the station, he had recently accepted a position as a reporter with an ABC affiliate in Tampa, Fla.
Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, of which Ward was a member, issued a bereavement statement by email announcing that Ward had died Wednesday around 2:30 a.m. It was the same day, according the fraternity, that Ward and his family were planning their drive to Tampa Bay to begin their new lives.
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“This should have been a great day for him, and it’s sad that this has happened,” said Ken Lemon, president of the Charlotte Area Association of Black Journalists.
Lemon, who also works for WSOC-TV at the station’s Gaston Bureau, said he will always remember Ward’s bright smile and kind-hearted nature.
“Ken was a very nice co-worker,” he said. “He was very active in doing community events He had a very pleasant demeanor. He was the kind of guy, that anytime you saw him at work, he had a smile and a handshake – from the first day he came here until the last time I talked to him. And to know that we’re not going to see his smile or get to shake his hand again is very heart-breaking.”
Many of Ward’s other colleagues were also surprised by his sudden death.
“When I found out this morning, it was a low blow,” said Dedrick Russell, an education reporter for WBTV. “I was in disbelief.”
Russell, also a member of CAABJ, knew Ward from his interactions with the association. He said the last time the two saw each other was during an event held last summer to raise money for CAABJ’s college scholarship fund. He said Ward attended the event with his wife, Latisha Ward.
“His death is a huge loss to the journalism industry,” Russell said. “My heart goes out to his wife, and I am sending prayers up for his family.”
According to CAABJ member Davida Jackson, Ward and his wife had just celebrated their one-year wedding anniversary on New Year’s Eve. He is survived by one son.
Ward was a graduate of Hampton University and The College of New Rochelle with degrees in journalism and communications.
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