Ken Ward, TV reporter, was set to drive Wednesday from Charlotte, N. C. to Tampa Bay, Fla. to start his new job at an ABC affiliate.
Instead, the 44-year-old was found dead early Wednesday morning at his home before the journey even started, leaving colleagues and viewers wondering what happened to the promising reporter.
His former news station, WSOC-TV, issued a brief statement Wednesday at 11:10 a.m. local time.
We have lost a former member of our family here at Channel 9, the message read in part.
The Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, which Ward was a member, said in a statement that the TV reporter died around 2:30 a.m. Wednesday morning, but didn't give other details.
An autopsy at the Mecklenburg County Medical Examiner's Office will be performed to determine the cause of death, according to reports.
However, published reports suggested the Ward died of natural causes.
This should have been a great day for him, and it's sad that this has happened, co-worker Ken Lemon, told Qcitymetro, a newspaper that covers the African American community in Charlotte.
Ken was a very nice co-worker, Lemon added. He was very active in doing community events... He had a very pleasant demeanor. He was the kind of guy that anytime you saw him at work, he had a smile and a handshake - from the first day he came here until the last time I talked to him. And to know that we're not going to see his smile or get to shake his hand again is very heart-breaking.
Ward not only had the new job to look forward, but on Saturday, he and wife Letitia Ward celebrated their one-year anniversary.
Friends and family took to social media to express their condolences.
R.I.P. Cousin nothing but good childhood thoughts of U!! Prayers of love and support Auntie, Sterlin, Donald and Leltia, wrote Cheryl Ward, who currently lives in Harlem, N.Y.