Colorado news station mourns the death of anchor Don Ward

A Colorado community is mourning the loss of local TV presenter Don Ward, who died Monday at age 55 while hiking in the mountains.

CBS KKTV affiliate in Colorado Springs announced the sad news Monday evening, writing that he is believed to have died of a heart attack but no official cause of death has yet been announced.

Don Ward, a CBS affiliate anchor in Colorado Springs, Colo., died Monday at age 55 while hiking in the mountains. Don Wardkktv/Facebook

“It is with heavy hearts that we have tragic news to share at 11 News,” the station wrote. “11 News presenter Don Ward passed away unexpectedly on Monday doing what he loved while hiking in the mountains.”

His KKTV co-presenter Dianne Derby tried to hold back tears as she discussed her loss on Monday’s show.

“I am devastated to share this news with our community, and am deeply heartbroken for his family and friends,” she said. “I’m shocked and I can’t believe he won’t be by my side anymore.

“He’s the person I’ve spent more time with than anyone, and I fondly call him my ‘Donner’ and work husband for years. He’s by far one of the most talented journalists I’ve ever seen. I’ve ever known and he taught our newsroom so much.”

The Park County Coroner’s Office said he died near the summit of Mount Cameron near Alma and his death was not being considered suspicious, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette.

Ward had been with KKTV since 2006 after beginning his career as a broadcaster in 1988. He was a longtime fixture in the local community, graduating from Doherty High School in Colorado Springs and then graduating from the University of Colorado.

“I couldn’t have expected 31 years ago when I started that I would end up with a senior anchor position in my hometown,” Ward told the Colorado Springs Gazette in a recent interview. “It is an honor to serve the community where I grew up. My very first job was with Baskin-Robbins in Flintridge and the Academy when I was 16. I have a feeling this will be my last job. , so it comes full circle in Colorado Springs.”

Ward was an avid hiker who posted on his Facebook page Sunday that he was taking a few days off to “hike 14,” which refers to a mountain peak that has an elevation of at least 14,000 feet.

Viewers expressed their condolences in the comments to Ward’s latest post.

“Our favorite news anchor in Colorado Springs, a classy actor and stand up guy!” one person wrote. “I miss them all! Condolences to your family, and truly to everyone. Gone way too soon. It makes me truly sad. To his family, find peace and joy knowing that Don touched so many people!!”

“So sad to hear that Don passed away!” another wrote. “I’m in shock. I loved all of his travel photos and the music he shared.”

Ward’s colleagues also shared their grief over his loss.

“We are gutted, we are rudderless, we are heartbroken,” said KKTV reporter Spencer Wilson tweeted. “I wish I had the right words to say, but everyone knows Don was our best eulogy. We can’t explain how much it hurts us, but if you were lucky enough to know him, you You already know. We will miss you, Don TV Hall.”

“It is with great sadness that I have to tell you that my friend, colleague and co-presenter Don Ward passed away today while hiking,” said KKTV weatherman Brian Bledsoe. tweeted. “I’m shocked, saddened, and his family is in my thoughts and prayers. Don and I used to hike Waldo Canyon (before it burned) and Pikes Peak together #RIPDon.”