Longtime WBTV news reporter Steve Crump is taking a leave of absence due to an unspecified health problem, the station reported.
In a video interview with anchor Jamie Boll posted Monday night, Crump said he had been diagnosed last month with a “very serious health condition,” but one that doctors told him is treatable.
Crump said he and his wife want privacy, saying he wants to “come back with the same level of integrity that I hope I’ve put in here before.” But the fifth-generation Roman Catholic also alluded to his grandmother’s faith, and his own, in asking viewers for their prayers.
“Knowing that that kind of constitution is instilled in my genes and DNA,” he told Boll, “Steve Crump may be on the sideline for a moment, but Steve Crump ain’t out of the game.”
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WBTV hired Crump in 1984 — two years, he noted, after being fired at a station in Orlando, Fla., “for being a horrible writer.” But he worked at his craft and, over a career of nearly 40 years, became a prize-winning storyteller who chased stories as sprawling as the history of the civil rights movement. Crump is also a noted documentary producer for TV and radio.
“If we can have the ability through the facts that we share to have the lives of these individuals immortalized … then in some ways we’re doing what we’re supposed to do,” he said in the WBTV video.
Along the way he became one of the most familiar faces on Charlotte TV. A Facebook post on the WBTV interview had more than 170 comments of support by late Tuesday afternoon.
Crump himself once became the story. While covering a hurricane in Charleston in 2016, a stranger verbally accosted him, calling Crump a “slave” and worse. Crump and his cameraman recorded the ugly exchange.
Bruce Henderson: 704-358-5051; @bhender