Former KUSI sports producer and reporter Rick Willis has died. He was 49.
Willis worked at KUIS between 2002 and 2018. He died last week in Philadelphia where his family had temporarily relocated to get treatment for his six-year-old daughter who is battling leukemia a second time.
“Many knew Rick as a longtime member of the San Diego media community, though that was just a small part of the incredible human that he was. Rick and his family had relocated to Philadelphia to access the absolute best care possible for their six-year-old daughter, Karina, who he lived and breathed for,” Willis’ sister wrote on Instagram. “Now a two-time leukemia survivor, Karina was Rick’s inspiration in life. Both before her diagnosis and throughout her cancer journey, Rick became an on-air spokesperson for raising awareness of childhood cancer.”
“His gregarious personality and spirit instantly turned strangers into feeling like they had a new best friend. His empathic nature made those that were fortunate enough to have a close relationship with him, feel like they always had someone that actually saw and heard them,” she wrote.
Willis was a San Diego native. He graduated from San Dieguito High School and SDSU.
“Our family will miss him tremendously, but perhaps not to the depth that his sweet Karina will,” she wrote. “He was an amazing, devoted and doting Daddy. My hope is that all of the wonderful, over-the-top silliness and love they shared for each other will remain with her forever.”
He leaves behind his 6-year-old daughter and his wife. A Go Fund Me account has been set up to help pay for his daughter’s treatment. Click here to donate.