It's safe to say that no broadcast media employee, no weatherman, was more beloved in Kansas City, Missouri than WDAF-TV's Fox 4 Morning News meteorologist Don Harman, who died Tuesday evening of suicide in his Kansas City home according to the Associated Press.
Rumors spread about Harman's death from late Tuesday into Wednesday morning, which prompted a massive outpouring of questions by viewers on social media and directly to the studio, which, in turn, prompted the studio to post a statement at 5:53 a.m. CT implicitly confirming Harman's death and make a similar statement on the morning broadcast.
Harman's death wasn't officially confirmed until the the studio posted a second statement, this time on its Web site, at 12:04 p.m. CT because it took almost 18 hours to notify the family.
Ever since that official confirmation, Harman, the 41-year old native of Ohio, has received many condolences and tributes from both fellow colleagues and fans, especially via the Fox 4 KC Morning News Facebook Page.
I am so sad today, said one post. I am not a morning person but every morning I would turn on Fox news to see Don Harman & every time he would make me laugh! I will miss him greatly.
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Another read: Thoughts and prayers go out to fox 4 team and family..watched fox 4 every morning..One of the memories I have is Don wearing a superman suite..will never forget that.
Many also wondered throughout the news frenzy of suicide why Harman, who exuded a joyous, fun personality, would take his own life. The broadcast team early on Thursday shared the reason, saying that the Harman's sister had told them that Harman had battled depression for a long time.
Please know that he tried all kinds of things [and] that we tried also, said anchor Loren Halifax during the broadcast. Everyone that's here who loved him [and] his family tried to help.
According to anchor Mark Alford, Harman came into the newsroom Tuesday morning in an unfamiliar mood.
He was in a mood that day, said Alford, who paused for words, then regained his composure. You know, we always tried to...
Again, Alford was at a loss.
Halifax continued: They want you to know that if you struggle or someone else you know struggles, please don't ever stop trying...please don't ever stop trying to get help.
In an interview with IBTimes, Jackson County Courthouse Public Information Officer Dan Ferguson said that Harman's body has been taken to the county's medical examiner's office and an autopsy has been performed. While the suicide has been confirmed, Ferguson said the manner in which Harman committed suicide could not be released for another six to eight weeks.
Harman was hired by WDAF, Fox 4, in 1999 to replace Gary Lezak and quickly became part of a newscast that was rated number one in Kansas City for years, according to the Kansas City Star.
According to Harman's bio on the Fox 4 Web site, he worked the morning news show from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. since April 1999. He was even awarded the AMS and Certified Broadcast Meteorologist (CBM) Seals of Approval, which is given to broadcast meteorologists who are adept at presenting weather to viewers in a manner that enhances the science of meteorology.
Harman is survived by his wife, Monica, and daughter, Avery.
The Harman family has set up a memorial fund through the Tightwad Bank in Tightwad, Mo. that will benefit local Kansas City charities
Donations go to:
Don Harman Memorial Fund
Benefiting local Kansas City Charities
c/o Tightwad Bank
1160 SE Highway 7
Tightwad, Missouri 64735
Check out the slideshow of memorable pictures of Harman and his fans that fans sent in to the studio.
Follow Jason Van Hoven on Twitter @jason_van_hoven