Former WKTV anchor Bill Worden died Wednesday morning following a brief illness. He was 80.
Worden worked at the Utica, N.Y. station from 1977 until 2012.
New York Senator Chuck Schumer said he was “heartbroken” by Worden’s death.
“I first remember meeting Bill Worden at Utica’s Boilermaker Road Race years ago front and center out with his community,” Schumer wrote on Twitter. “He was an incredible journalist. I’m praying for his family, friends, and his community in Utica. We’ll miss him.”
“The word ‘icon’ gets thrown around a lot to describe folks whose accomplishments are noteworthy, but Bill earned that title in every sense of the word,” said Steve McMurray, vice president and general manager of WKTV. “His picture still adorns the hallway in our main entrance because, for so many years, Bill was WKTV.”
WKTV anchor Kristen Copeland says she grew up watching Worden and was lucky enough to co-anchor with him before he retired.
“Bill loved Utica and Utica loved Bill. He was our anchorman. I grew up watching him and learning from him, never expecting to one day sit next to him,” she said. “He was a great colleague and mentor but most importantly, a friend. If you had time, Bill had a story to tell you. Even if you didn’t have time, he had a story to tell you. That’s what he was, a storyteller. Whether it was behind-the-scenes, on-air or supporting veteran causes, he had a way with words. It was his gift and we are all blessed to have received it.”