Charles King, who served as the morning news anchor for KWQC-TV 6 for more than 16 years, died Tuesday.
The station's staffers who knew and worked with King were feeling "sadness and concern" as the news broke of his passing Tuesday morning, according to Rich Kurz, the station's news director.
King was hired in 1989 to help kick off the morning program for the NBC affiliate and left KWQC in 2005 when he retired from a 55-year career in broadcasting, according to Kurz.
For several years, King teamed up with weather anchor Theresa Bryant, who has worked with the company since 1992.
Bryant and King had stayed in touch over the years, including weekly phone calls.
When King, who was living in the Denver, Colorado area, got sick about a week and a half ago, his daughter Dana Block called to let Bryant know. Bryant got another call early Tuesday morning that King had died. He was 80.
"He was such a wonderful man and a great coworker," Bryant said. "He was a friend to everyone and didn’t know a stranger — that's not just because he was on TV."
Before taking on the morning news program, King held a variety of jobs in broadcasting, including at the former WOC-TV, the radio station WOC-AM and the former KIIK-FM, according to a Aug. 26, 2005 story in the Quad-City Times.
As a teenager, King, who was born in Kansas City, worked as a janitor at a news station in Topeka, Kansas. Bryant said he "had a big heart and a love for his viewers" and mentored several young journalists during his time at the station.
Get the Weekender Newsletter
Plan your weekend with our hand-picked list of the Quad Cities' best bets for entertainment.
"He’s an example of all the good that is journalism and that has come out of the station," she said. "His intelligence and his integrity and the fact that, in his heart, he was a journalist ... I think that established a road for everyone else to follow."
King taught her, and many others on the news staff, to "ask the tough questions" as well as "to not take things too seriously," she said.
"We had so much fun every day," she said. "I remember laughing so much together."
King is survived by wife, Bonnie, three children and four grandchildren. Funeral arrangements have not been announced.
"He left a big enough legacy that you can feel the impact here and in the community," Kurz, who joined the station in 2014, said. "The tone he set has lived on after all of these years ... it's something to live up to and aspire to."