Sad news yesterday as longtime Action News sports anchor Gary Papa died after a long battle with cancer. Mr Papa announced that he had prostate cancer back in 2004. Another Philly broadcasting legend and Papa's friend Jim Gardner announced the news.
"We loved Gary Papa and, you know what? He loved all of us," said Action News anchor Jim Gardner while announcing Gary's death Friday afternoon during a special report on 6abc.
Growing up in the Philadelphia area, it was people like Gary Papa who were my gateway into this lifelong obsession with sports. It didn't come from ESPN or the internet, my earliest memories of the Eagles and Phillies were sitting on the couch with my parents every evening and watching channel 6 Action News. That's where I found about every score, heard every player interview and saw every highlight of my favorite teams.... and it was Gary Papa who brought that all to me. So I salute Mr Papa's career, thank him for his contribution to our area, and send my condolences to his family.
From an Eagles perspective, Jeff Lurie released this statement.
On behalf of the entire Philadelphia Eagles organization, I am deeply saddened to learn of Gary's passing today," said Eagles Chairman/CEO Jeffrey Lurie. "Gary Papa was a centerpiece of sports coverage in the Philadelphia area for many years. I will always remember him for the energy and passion he brought to his profession, especially during some of the toughest times of his battle with cancer. WPVI and the entire Philadelphia region lost an icon today. Our condolences go out to his wife, Kathleen, his two sons, and his entire family at WPVI."
Donovan McNabb posted his thoughts on Yardbarker.
I am so saddened by the loss of Gary Papa who succumbed to prostate cancer this morning. My deepest sympathy goes out to his wife and children, his family at 6ABC, and the people in the region who counted on him and invited him into their homes each night.
Gary was a very special man; very genuine. He was able to do his job of reporting the sports news and he did it in a way that showcased the fan in him. I think that’s what touched most of his viewers – that he followed and supported the same teams they did.
I knew Gary wasn’t well and I asked about him often through others at the station. I called him personally last week and left a message although I will forever regret not being able to speak to him directly.
Gary fought a tremendous battle that reflected his character. To appear on television after chemotherapy with his head shaved standing strong and confident…… He loved life and was willing to do anything to keep his.
Philadelphia has lost a couple of icons in the broadcasting field already this year. Let’s all cherish those memories and pray for their families.