Former San Luis Obispo icon and KSBY anchor Rick Martel has died.
Martel worked at the NBC affiliate for 15 years. He left when Rupert Murdoch‘s daughter Elisabeth bought the station in 1995.
Stormi, Martel’s wife told KSBY her husband had “recently come down with a kidney infection.”
Martel briefly worked at Santa Maria CBS affiliate KCOY. Cal Coast News reports Martel chose to work in San Luis Obispo over an offer to work in Chicago after visiting his in-laws in nearby Morro Bay.
He then settled in as a late-night entertainer in the county and the host of The Rick Martel Show, which aired three nights a week on Charter Cable.
“I have never, ever, dreaded going to work, and that’s the way it should be,” Martel once said on his cable television show.
In 2013, tragedy struck Martel. His 23-year-old granddaughter, Ashley Martel, died of a heroin overdose.
She was pregnant with her first child at the time. Rick Martel was very fond of his granddaughter, and he told KSBY that she was the apple of his eye.
Martel leaves behind a host of family and friends.