The Weather Channel co-founder and original “Good Morning America” meteorologist John Coleman died Saturday.
His wife, Linda, said he passed away at their home in Las Vegas, according to the Associated Press. He was 83 years old.
“Thirty-five years ago John Coleman and others founded The Weather Channel to answer a demand for around-the-clock weather information,” The Weather Channel said in a statement released Monday. “We will forever appreciate his vision that we continue to this day as the demand for severe weather coverage and hyper-local forecasting is at an all-time high.”
A Texas native, Coleman had controversial views on climate change and insisted global warming is a hoax. Coleman’s disagreements with the American Meteorological Society’s official stance on climate change were a reason he left the organization, despite being named AMS Broadcast Meteorologist of the Year in 1983.
“Thanks in large part to the tireless dedication of John Coleman, The Weather Channel became a true pioneer in cable TV,” said Weather Underground weather and climate blogger Bob Henson. “Coleman was the first to promote the idea of a nationwide weather channel, and he worked many long hours to make it happen. It’s tremendously unfortunate that Coleman later devoted the same energy and drive to dismissing climate change science, but this does not take away from his achievements in making accurate information on daily weather part of the cable-TV landscape.”
“Sad to hear about the passing of a true ‘visionary,’ John Coleman,” wrote Tom Moore, a meteorologist who was originally hired by The Weather Channel when it was founded in 1982, in a Facebook post.
Coleman got his first TV job while studying at the University of Illinois and went on to work at several local stations in the Midwest before joining GMA when it launched in 1975, the AP also said.
He was also the first meteorologist to implement a chroma key, or green screen, into weather broadcasts.
After helping launch The Weather Channel, he served as president and CEO for about a year.
Coleman went on to have a 20-year career as a meteorologist for KUSI-TV in San Diego before retiring in 2014.