KUSI anchor Jason Austell tweeted news of Coleman’s death early Sunday. The San Diego Union-Tribune reported he died Saturday night in Las Vegas, where he lives.
Born in Alpine, Texas, in 1934, he began his television career in 1953 at WCIA in Champaign, Illinois, while still a student at the University of Illinois. After graduating from college, he worked at several TV stations throughout the Midwest, before landing at WLS, the ABC station in Chicago.
Coleman was later the first weatherman on “Good Morning America” at its premiere on the ABC network in 1975, and he went on to found The Weather Channel, which launched in 1982.
After leaving The Weather Channel, he went to WCBS in New York, then WMAQ in Chicago, before moving to San Diego. Coleman worked at KUSI for the last two decades of his career.
He was a prominent critic of climate change, and has argued against it in appearances on CNN and Fox News.
Coleman produced a report for KUSI in 2010 called “Global Warming: The Other Side,” in which he called global warming a “scam,” and accused federal agencies of manipulating temperature date, according to KUSI’s website.
While he had no background in the field of climate change, Coleman maintained that as a longtime professional member of the American Meteorological Society and a recipient of the organization’s Broadcast Meteorologist of the Year award in 1982, he was qualified to speak on the subject.
He retired from KUSI in 2014, after career of more than 60 years.
No services were immediately announced.
CAN’T BELIEVE IT: I loved John Coleman. Watched him on WLS TV in Chicago when i was a kid…honored to work with him @KUSINews in recent years. He was a dear friend, mentor, innovator…and frequent guest on my radio show. I am shocked and saddened. Were blessed to know him. https://t.co/3ahy4mMTpS
— Mark Larson (@marklarsonradio) January 21, 2018
— Kim Cunningham (@kimcunninghamwx) January 21, 2018
Sad day for me. Founder of the Weather Channel, John Coleman passed away last night. I remember watching him as a kid in Chicago, and was fortunate enough to get to know him as a colleague. He was the inspiration for me to get into this business. RIP John. #JohnColeman
— Tony Pann (@TonyPannWBAL) January 21, 2018
RIP John Coleman. Did not have the pleasure of befriending him but I was a fan! pic.twitter.com/rWB0MsJOAD
— Hank Bauer (@hank_bauer) January 21, 2018
Some memories of John Coleman.
“Oh boss.. you have lost control… it’s Friday!”
“The breeeeze….(insert kick)”
“Supercast. Seven. Day. Outlook.”
“????What’s the weather for the weekend gonna be?????”
“The WOF… wall of fog.”
— Producer David (@ProducerDavid) January 21, 2018
RIP John Coleman. An icon in San Diego. I’ll always remember the way he said:
“K YOUOUUUUUUUUUUUU S I.” He always appeared happy and upbeat and it was tough not to smile along with him. I’ll miss you, old friend.
Never knew he founded the Weather Channel.
— Teri Peters (@hipEchik) January 21, 2018
John Coleman, the GOAT among all weatherman, has passed. RIP.
— Nick Canepa (@sdutCanepa) January 21, 2018
Very sad news to hear that John Coleman founder of the weather channel has passed away at the age of 61 year old! True pioneer in the weather industry! My prayers and condolences to his family R.I.P
— Justin Frantzen (@JustinFrantzen5) January 21, 2018
John Coleman, founder of the weather Channel has passed away. It’s a sad day for anyone who loves the weather.
— Joe Bastardi (@BigJoeBastardi) January 21, 2018
I’m very saddened to hear of the death of my friend and a true TV and #SanDiego legend – John Coleman from KUSI. Thoughts and prayers with his family and the @KUSINews team. pic.twitter.com/pl1PyXokRa
— Carl DeMaio (@carldemaio) January 21, 2018
— Monty’s Revenge (@zkidd91) January 21, 2018
R.I.P. to the great #JohnColeman. Founder of The Weather Channel, but was likely was one the funnest meteorologists on TV. He was always dancing, telling stories, and doing crazy things during the weather. This is one my personal favs:
“…and a breeeeeeeze!!”
A legend, indeed. pic.twitter.com/qBKY7sWdZN
— Dakota Hunter (@HuntersWx) January 21, 2018
Woke up to news of John Coleman’s passing. An accomplished weatherman with as much energy as anyone in news. His trademark “It’s Friday!” celebrations always provided a smile and a laugh to my family as we ushered in the weekend. He’ll be missed. #RIP
— The Backseat Lamp (@thebackseatlamp) January 21, 2018
John Coleman entertained and informed we San Diegans’ for 20 years. He was the master of weather news delivery! God Bless you John. I trust your reward is in heaven!
— Jim Keith (@JimKeith_) January 21, 2018
— City News Service