Longtime San Diego weathercaster and founder of The Weather Channel, John Coleman, has died. He was 83 years old.
Linda Coleman told the Associated Press her husband died Saturday night at home in Las Vegas. She did not give the cause of his death.
The Texas native got his first TV job while still a student at the University of Illinois. Coleman worked at several local stations in Chicago and the Midwest before becoming the first weathercaster on ABC’s "Good Morning America" when it launched in 1975. He was with the program for seven years.
In 1981, he helped launch the The Weather Channel and was the network's first president and CEO.
In 1983, Coleman won the American Meteorological Society award for Outstanding Service by a Broadcast Meteorologist. The organization credited Coleman for "his pioneering efforts in establishing a national cable weather channel," according to the AMS website.
Coleman went to work at TV stations in New York and in Chicago before landing at KUSI-TV in San Diego, where he spent 20 years as a weatherman before retiring in 2014.
Coleman also drew anger during the later years of his career for his doubts that humans caused global warming, which he called a "hoax" and a "scam." In a 2013 KUSI news segment, Coleman, while talking about a global warming study, chastised national media for reporting on it from "an environmental point of view and their continuing liberal, political agenda."
His views combined with his weatherman background led to appearances on cable news outlets discussing climate change.
National Weather Service forecaster Alex Tardy said Coleman's death was "a big loss for the weather community."
"He brought a lot of energy and color and enthusiasm to forecasting," Tardy said. "My kids loved watching him on TV."