Todd Tongen, a veteran reporter and news anchor at ABC-affiliated TV station WPLG Local 10, has died at 56.
Tongen reportedly died while his wife Karen was out of town. She was unable to reach him, so she called a friend to check on him, according to WPLG. The friend called the police who found him dead on Monday morning.
The cause of death was not immediately known.
Tongen worked with WPLG for three decades before his death. He started his career in 1983 as a radio DJ on Minnesota’s country radio station KMRS-AM.
In 1984, he joined a radio station in Grand Junction, Colorado, before moving to KJCT-TV, also in Colorado, to work as a movie host and weatherman.
He joined KARK-TV in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1986, where he worked as a weatherman. He met the future President Bill Clinton at KARK-TV.
He then moved to Miami, Florida, and joined WPLG as a weatherman in December 1989. One of the highlights of his time at WPLG was covering Hurricane Andrew. ABC News featured his reporting on Nightline in 1993.
He was most recently weekend morning co-anchor at WPLG with Neki Mohan.
He interviewed many celebrities in his 1967 Checker taxi cab, including Joan Rivers, Vin Diesel, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Dana Carvey, David Cassidy, Joan Rivers, and Eva Mendez.
He once refereed an arm-wrestling contest between the billionaire Warren Buffet and the Miami Dolphins defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and helped to train whales at the Miami Seaquarium.
He seemed proud of having lived an adventurous life.
“I’ve already skydived, bungee jumped, ridden on the back of a whale, flown with the Blue Angels and the Thunderbirds, so there’s not a lot left on my bucket list,” he told WPLG back in 2015. “I would love to travel… I’d like to go to Bora Bora and I’d like to be in another feature film. I’d like to be in a blockbuster film, even in the smallest role.”
He was also a dedicated family man.
He is survived by his wife Karen, and two sons, Tyler and Ryker.
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