Former News4 Sportscaster Nick Charles Dies of Cancer at 64

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    NEWSLETTERS

    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    This undated file photo provided by CNN shows Nick Charles. Charles, the former taxi driver who became CNN's first sports anchor and served in that role for nearly two decades, died Saturday, June 25, 2011, after a two-year struggle with bladder cancer. He was 64. (AP Photo/CNN)

    Nick Charles, the former taxi driver who anchored sports for WRC before spending two decades with CNN, died Saturday after a two-year struggle with bladder cancer, CNN reported. He was 64.

    He died peacefully at his New Mexico home, his wife Cory, a CNN International producer, told the network.

    Nicholas Charles Nickeas grew up in Chicago, working late-night jobs in high school to help his family, according to CNN. He eventually went to Columbia College Chicago to study communications and drove a taxi to help pay his tuition.

    He was still driving taxis in 1970 when he landed his first gig with WICS in Springfield, Ill. That's when he adopted the name Nick Charles at the urging of his news director, the network said.

    Charles left Springfield to work at WJZ-TV in Baltimore and WRC-TV in Washington.  Charles co-anchored sports for WRC with Glen Brenner until 1979.  In 1980, Charles took on an anchor role with the fledling CNN, a job he held for 20 years.

    In recent months, Charles served as an inspiration to many as he openly discussed his battle with cancer, with which he was diagnosed in August 2009. He made video diaries for his five-year-old daughter Giovanna to see in years to come.