Mark Walden, chief meteorologist for ABC 24 News in Memphis, died at his home over the weekend.
Mr. Walden, 38, died of apparent natural causes, according to the station, which did not provide further details.
“Our ABC 24 family is deeply saddened by the passing of chief meteorologist Mark Walden,” said Ardyth Dierks, ABC 24 vice president and general manager. “He was highly respected among his colleagues and served this community as a gifted meteorologist and through his generous work with local charities. He touched our lives and will be greatly missed.”
In a special tribute during the news broadcast Sunday night, Mr. Walden’s colleagues praised his professionalism, warmth and generosity.
“Mark was the most kind-hearted, selfless person. I could not have picked a better person to work for and to work with,” said Lauren Raymer, a colleague at ABC 24.
Jim Belles of the National Weather Service said he has known Mr. Walden for many years, and that his kindness is one of the most memorable things about him.
“Of course he loved the weather, certainly that was first,” Belles said. “His presentation was always professional, always the best. And that’s who he was.”
Mr. Walden worked as a meteorologist for WEHT in Evansville, Ind., before joining ABC 24 in 1999. He graduated from Florida State University in 1997 with a B.S. in meteorology.
Wayne Hart, chief meteorologist for WEHT and Mr. Walden’s former supervisor, said he was thrilled to hire him right out of college as a weekend meteorologist.
“A lot of people on TV have a heavy ego,” Hart said. “They’re in it for their egos and to make a lot of money. He was just the opposite.”
As founder of The Giving Experiment, Mr. Walden made sure that roughly 20 percent of his profits from his various entrepreneurial endeavors went to a different charity every month. The most recent beneficiaries include March of Dimes, Juvenile Intervention and Faith-Based Follow-Up, and Memphis Union Mission.
His survivors include his wife, Jackquelynne Walden, a stepdaughter and a 2-year old son.
“Our family thanks everyone in the Mid-South for their condolences and kind words,” Jackquelynne Walden said in an online tribute posted by the Memphis station. “Mark really loved his viewers. He never met a stranger. And we’re grateful for all the prayers and support.”
Funeral arrangements are pending.