Action News sports director Gary Papa, 54, died Friday, more than five years after suffering from prostate cancer.

Papa joined Action News in 1981 as the weekend sportscaster and weekday sports reporter. On December 1, 1983, he became host of Prime Time, the magazine format program which airs Saturday, at 7:00 PM, on Channel 6.

Papa was born in Buffalo, New York, in 1954. Upstate New York would be his home for most of the next 27 years.

Gary went to Cornell University as an undergraduate, and actually considered a career as an attorney. He even earned his law degree at the University of Buffalo Law School.

Meteorologist Cecily Tynan described Mr. Papa as a wonderful person, full of life, full of energy, full of love for his family and his coworkers. We're all going to miss him terribly. . . . He fought the battle as well as he could, but he couldn't fight any longer. He'll stay alive in our hearts and in the viewers' hearts, according to Philly news.

Papa died at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. He's survived by his wife Kathy and two sons, Tucker and Nathaniel.