CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- George Walker, a longtime host for West Virginia Public Radio, was found dead in his home over the weekend, officials said today.
He was 60.
Details of his death are to be determined by an autopsy, said Shawn Patterson, director of communications.
"We learned about it this morning," Patterson said. "He had been off on sick leave. The last time anyone from here talked to him was Thursday evening."
She was not aware of the nature of his illness.
"George was the consummate professional," said Scott Finn, executive director. "His work was always top notch and we relied on him for his expertise. Our hearts go out to his family and friends during this time."
James Muhammad, director of radio services, said Walker was an inspiration.
"He was reliable and dedicated," Muhammad said. "Everyone loved him. He had a great sense of humor. He was a calming force. He was an important part of the family here. He was that rare individual in this business who is hard to replace."
Muhammad said Walker could always put a positive spin on things while seasoning tense moments with a bit of humor.
He said Walker had been ill for several weeks. Muhammad, who is leaving on May 14 to accept a position in Indiana, regrets that he never got a chance to say goodbye. He had hoped for more long conversations with Walker before leaving the area.
Walker was local host for "All Things Considered," an evening news program on West Virginia Public Radio. He also produced the long-running "Music from the Mountains" with Joe Dobbs until Dobbs retired.
Walker worked for West Virginia Public Broadcasting for nearly 12 years. He began as a part-time announcer in 2002. He previously worked for Bristol Broadcasting and V-100 Radio in Charleston. He also did contract narrative and voice-over work for clients in Charleston, Nashville, and Chicago as Walker Productions.
His death is a great loss for the business as well as his friends, Muhammad said.
"It's a heavy blow," Muhammad said.
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