CONDOLENCES: Beloved WAFB anchor Paul Gates passes away

CONDOLENCES: Beloved WAFB anchor Paul Gates passes away

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Longtime WAFB anchor and investigative reporter Paul Gates passed away peacefully at the age of 69.

Paul joined as a reporter at WAFB in March 1977 and served as the station's 5 p.m. news anchor beginning in 2001. His many investigative reports, titled "Paul Gates Investigates," uncovered corruption, pollution, and wrongdoing across Louisiana.

Paul passed away Tuesday, June 21 at 12:15 p.m. He was surrounded by his family.

Paul's passing has been felt by former coworkers, politicians, friends and viewers alike with several people have releasing statements and posted comments and condolences on social media.

Gov. John Bel Edwards

"Like so many viewers, Donna and I send our deepest condolences to the family and colleagues of Paul Gates.  It is clear that Paul knew the power of a well-told story, and enjoyed his work immensely. His work continues to impact south Louisiana today, from his award-winning investigative reports, to his popular appearances with Chef John Folse, to his endearing on-air anchor style.   Paul Gates was one of a kind and his legacy will always stand apart in journalism."

Former Gov. Bobby Jindal: 

"Paul brought his tenacity and wit to viewers for decades.  Known for his investigative journalism as well as his humor, Paul was a fixture in our community.  He will be missed. Supriya and I offer our heartfelt condolences and prayers to his family."

Former Gov. Edwin Edwards: 

"He was a class act. I've known many media people throughout my life and he was one of the best. Compassionate, fair, honest, all the good adjectives and he was good at his job. The profession and all of us who knew him will miss him. I don't know when another will come who could fill his shoes. We respected each other and he was my friend. My sympathies go out to his family who can feel proud of his life. A giant lived in that man."

Former and current WAFB employees:

Former reporter and weekend anchor Avery Davidson posted the following on Facebook:

I shared an office with Paul for 2 years. I called it an office, but it was more like a closet with 2 small desks, 2 phones and one computer in it. Paul taught me why tenacity for the truth, refusing to allow others to intimidate or influence pursuit of the facts and digging deeper than a press release are what make great journalism. His ability to strike fear into those who've wronged others, yet make the good and just smile and laugh, even at his expense, was something I've never seen from another broadcaster. I'll likely never see it again. 
Rest well, Paul.

Former employee Tim Brando posted several tweets:

He also tweeted "So saddened to hear of his passing our (at the time) locally owned station had the best newsroom filled w/personalities. @WAFB & Paul Gates."

"His humor, his passion and compassion separated him from so many others. Our old News Director Carlton Cremeens always took Pauls advice."

Former sports anchor Victor Howell posted on Twitter:

Howell also tweeted "RIP Paul. Thanks for so many memories & fun times over 10 years in the business & weekends together on-air." and "Paul battled Alzheimer's disease bravely, & was one of THE BEST when it came to being a true, real NEWSMAN. Blessings to his family."

Former reporter Caroline Moses posted on Facebook:

So sad. I HATE Alzheimer's disease. Loved Paul and all his personality and passion. Was privileged to work with him, learn from him and absorb his infectious positivity and love of life. Thinking of his personal and tv family. He shared himself with all of us.

Sylvia Weatherspoon, who was a former reporter at WAFB, tweeted that Paul was "a powerhouse newsman and great mentor."

Heartbreaking news to share with you all this afternoon. Paul Gates was an amazing investigative reporter, co-anchor, and friend. I will never forget how excited I was to work with him when I was hired at WAFB ten years ago. After our final broadcast together he told me to "keep cutting grass out there." Thanks for being such an inspriation, my friend. We will never forget Paul Gates Investigates. Please keep his friends and family in your prayers.

Meteorologist Steve Caparotta posted on Facebook:

He was the coolest, funniest, 'realest' person I've had the opportunity to work with in nearly 20 years of television. What you saw on TV was no act...every bit of that was Paul through and through. Many of you will remember him for his humor and his hilarious cooking segments with John Folse, but he was one heck of an investigative journalist, too. I had the pleasure of working with him for 8 years, roughly 3 of those alongside him on WAFB News at 5. It hasn't been the same since he retired in 2011 and never will be.

Reporter and anchor Graham Ulkins posted on his Facebook page:

Humble and hilarious, unrelenting and incomparable...Paul Gates was still the gentle bulldog of the newsroom when I started at WAFB some nine years ago. It was an honor to work alongside the legend I grew up watching. May he and his family finally be at peace.

Viewers also were able to leave their condolences on WAFB's Facebook page:

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