LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – As Las Vegas remembers longtime KLAS anchor Gary Waddell after his sudden death this week at the age of 77.
8 News Now looks back at his immeasurable impact in our newsroom.
His voice could soothe the saddest of days and his stories shaped our city for decades, but for so many at 8 News Now, Gary Waddell was light, laughter and a symbol of what TV news truly means.
“It was like he was woven into the fabric of Las Vegas,” KLAS Hall of Famer and Gary’s longtime co-anchor Paula Francis said Friday.
His time in our newsroom will always be remembered, as he brought his talent, sound logic, and unwavering friendship.
“I was so lucky to have him as a friend,” Francis said of Waddell. “I was so lucky to have him as a colleague.”
It’s been nearly ten years since Gary retired, and the 8 News Now newsroom still has a box of newspaper clips and photos; a 30-year testament to the history he witnessed and the impact he’ll have for so much time to come.
Francis said Gary also spent so much time helping others and sharing his unparalleled experience.
“He was so in tune to current events,” Francis explained. “To news, to history, and he really wanted to impart that to young people.”
“Gary always said find the smartest people you can,” she continued. “And hire them and teach them TV.”
Therefore, while those who knew him are still full of sorrow, they can also take comfort in the countless ways he changed the world, one newscast at a time.
Reactions are also pouring in from Las Vegas and around the world following the death of Waddell who died Thursday night.
Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak shared a personal story on Twitter. The governor said he brought his daughters to KLAS when he had an interview with Gary.
“We’ll be keeping Gary’s friends and family in our thoughts at this time,” wrote Sisolak.
Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman said she is thinking of Waddell, his family, and colleagues.
“One could always replay upon him to give the news as it should be told,” wrote Goodman. “Straight and honest. Such a loss for our city.”
Clark County remembered Waddell as “an icon who kept the populace informed,” and “made the community a better place for all of us.”
Sen. Jacky Rosen called Waddell “a staple in the Las Vegas community.” She wrote: “My heart goes out to Gary’s family and friends during this difficult time.”
Nevada Broadcasters Association CEO, Mitch Fox, remembered Waddell for his humble nature.
“Gary Waddell… was always a class act, always a gentleman, never full of himself,” Fox wrote on Twitter.
Senator Cortez Masto referred to Gary on social media as “a comforting figure and a compassionate journalist.” Adding the statement, “I will miss his presence, and I know so many people across Southern Nevada feel the same. Paul and I wish his loved ones comfort during this difficult time.”
Congresswoman Dina Titus wrote: “So sorry to learn we’ve lost Gary Waddell. He and his partner, friend George Knapp set the gold standard for broadcast journalism in Nevada.”
8NewsNow sports director, Chris Maathuis, a longtime colleague of Waddell, called the anchor a true professional.
“He cared about everyone in the newsroom,” Maathuis wrote. “Every single person. RIP my friend.”
A family friend confirmed Waddell died while fighting COVID-19. Waddell, who had been fully vaccinated, contracted a breakthrough case of COVID-19 and suffered a massive heart attack.