Larry Stogner, a retiring news anchor for an ABC affiliate in North Carolina, stunned viewers on Friday when he revealed he has ALS.
"For nearly four decades, I have met you right here, usually at 6," the WTVD anchor said during a Jan. 23 broadcast, as a slideshow of his life and career appeared on a screen behind him. "Boy, we've seen a lot of change over those years, but we have to stop meeting this way. I am sure that in recent months, you've noticed a change in my voice; my speech, slower. Many of you were kind enough to email me ideas about what it might be, or just to show concern, and I truly appreciate that. As it turns out, I have ALS, Lou Gehrig's disease."
Stogner added that, last summer, he'd participated in an Ice Bucket Challenge video to help raise awareness and money for the cause. "Little did I know, it was about to change my life," he said. "There is no cure. My career in broadcast journalism is coming to an end."
Married with six children, Stogner joined WTVD in 1976. In addition to conducting one-on-one interviews with Barack Obama, John McCain and other prominent political figures, the Air Force veteran reported live from Raleigh-Durham and beyond — including a 2002 assignment in Afghanistan, according to his ABC11 bio.
In the final minute of the broadcast, Stogner called his WTVD position "the best job in the world," and shared plans to take two weeks of vacation with his wife before returning in early February to share "a few final thoughts and a more personal goodbye."
Flanked by four of his WTVD colleagues, he concluded, "And now more than ever, I say to you, for all those 39 years: Thanks for the company. Have a good night."
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