CHICAGO meteorologist Jerry Taft died on Thursday at the age of 77.
Colleagues are remembering Taft, who worked for the Illinois ABC station for 33 years and was known for his famous laugh.
Who was Jerry Taft?
Taft was a Chicago-based meteorologist who worked for KABC – or ABC7 – for 33 years.
According to the news outlet, he originally worked as a captain in the Air Force in Texas.
He went to school at the University of Wisconsin-Madison – which was chosen by his military program, the Patch previously reported.
"I remember driving to Madison thinking I was going to study meteors," Taft told the Patch.
"When I got there and they told me it was weather, it was fascinating but I just didn't put two and two together at that time."
After he graduated college, when he was on a military job in San Antonio, he flew a local weatherman in the air.
The weatherman then put him on the air, and Taft took a job making $14.50 a show, beginning his career as a meteorologist.
He moved to Chicago to work for NBC, and was there for seven years, the Patch reported.
In 1984, he began working for KABC where he worked until he retired.
When did he die?
Taft died on Thursday night, KABC reported.
He died peacefully surrounded by family, according to the outlet.
Who was his wife?
Taft was married to Shana Taft, who was his high school girlfriend, the Patch reported.
The couple had four children together: Skylar, Storm, Dana and Jay, according to KABC.
When did he retire?
Taft retired in 1984, after spending more than 33 years with the Chicago ABC station.
Kathy Brock, who also worked for the Chicago news station, said when Taft retired that he was known for his infectious laugh, KABC reported.
"People remember the laugh, I don't know how many newscasts there have been where he gets the giggles," Brock said.
What was his net worth?
Taft has a net worth of $1.5million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.
He made $300,000 a year working as a Chicago meteorologist for KABC.
What have his colleagues said?
Taft's colleagues shared heartfelt messages remembering his life.
"Sad day today," anchor Roz Varon wrote in a post.
"I’ll always remember that contagious laugh!" she added.
Tracy Butler, a meteorologist at the station, shared her condolences with his family.
"Jerry was instrumental in my coming to @ABC7Chicago," Butler wrote.
"I can hear that laugh. Wow…I can hear that laugh. Miss you, pal. My deepest sympathy to his family," she added."
Reporter and anchor Diane Pathieu said: "It's a terribly sad day for our ABC 7 Chicago family."
Morning anchor Tanja Babich called Taft "the kindest man with the most wonderful laugh."
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