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WMAQ-TV's Sports Anchor Daryl Hawks Dead At 38

WMAQ-TV/NBC 5 sports anchor Daryl Hawks has passed away today at the age of only 38.

Hawks was in Atlanta, GA since last night to cover tonight's Game 6 of the Chicago Bulls playoff game against the Atlanta Hawks. After he missed a wake-up call at the hotel he was staying at, the Omni Hotel at CNN Center, hotel employees entered the room at approximately 9:30am and found him unresponsive. He was rushed to nearby Emory University Hospital, where he was officially pronounced dead just over two hours later. The cause of his death is still unknown at this time.

By all accounts, Hawks was in great physical shape. He worked out on a daily basis and played plenty of sports, including football, basketball and golf, whenever he could. He was a former semi-pro running back for the Lockport Invaders and a former U.S. Marine. Hawks was a member of The Mayor's Council on Fitness and Exercise.

Daryl Hawks had been a sports anchor and reporter with WMAQ-TV since July 2008. He replaced Ryan Baker, who left WMAQ-TV to take a lead sports anchor role with WBBM-TV. In addition to doing sports anchoring on newscasts, he was a host of WMAQ-TV's "Sports Sunday" program. He also did some national fill-in work for NBC Sports.

Prior to coming to Chicago, he worked at stations in San Francisco/San Jose, CA, Raleigh, NC, Jacksonville, FL and two stations in Palm Springs, CA.

A graduate of Buffalo State College, Hawks received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Broadcast Communications. In addition to being involved with various charities, Daryl Hawks was a member of Junior Achievement, the National Association of Black Journalists, and the Chicago Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Frank Whittaker, WMAQ-TV Station Manager and Vice-President of News, said on a statement on NBC 5's website today: "We are all stunned right now. Daryl was a great member of our sports team, and was so excited about covering the Bulls during this playoff run."

Daryl Hawks was married and had two young children (ages 5 and 2) with his wife, Sandy, plus a teenage son from a previous relationship.

This is the second time in the last decade that WMAQ-TV has been rocked by the sudden death of a sports anchor. In October, 2002, sports anchor Darrian Chapman passed away from a heart attack caused by the disease sarcoidosis.

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