Roy Hobbs, a former ABC 33/40 anchor and member of the Birmingham Association of Black Journalists (BABJ), has died, according to Fox 5 in Atlanta. He was 64.
Hobbs died at his home in West Palm Beach, said Fox 5 where Hobbs worked from 1997 to 2003. He worked in Birmingham from 2006-2010 and also had stops in Boston, Mass.; Jackson, Miss.; Beaumont, Texas; and Houston, Texas where he founded the Houston Association of Black Journalists in 1986.
His last known anchor job was at WRDE-TV in Delmarva, NBC Affiliate in Delaware from 2014 to 2016.
Eddie Lard, former president of the BABJ, said Hobbs was instrumental in a lot of programs offered by the journalists in Birmingham.
“He played a key role in our association and helped us with some major projects such as when we did town hall meetings” on education and crime, said Lard. “He was involved in the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) for a number of years especially in the Houston area. He will be greatly missed.”
Steve Crocker, WBRC Fox 6 anchor and current president of the BABJ, said, “I think anyone in our chapter who knew Roy was hurt to hear we lost him. I remember Roy being really supportive of our chapter . . . we hurt for him when he struggled, but I think it’s also fair to say he also inspired younger journalists including me. He was a good friend, and we’ll miss him.”
Hobbs’s daughter, Taylor, wrote in a Facebook post, “For the longest time my dad had been very sick. Literally and figuratively his heart was sad and tired.”
She added that he had been through a lot, “yet he was still here fighting. He was truly strong, yet ready to go. He was a great man who would do anything for the people he cared about. His purpose was to help others, sometimes due to his depression he wouldn’t think that he was fulfilling that purpose. When I see the love and respect that people have for him, I know otherwise.”
Hobbs talked often about his depression and cocaine and alcohol addiction over the years. In 2012, he talked to CNN about his issues including being arrested for cocaine possession. He ultimately went into counseling and Narcotics Anonymous.
“It’s not like your character is bad or you’re immoral,” he said on the network. “You are genetically predisposed to this… I don’t have a stop button in my head.” He said he has tried to commit suicide in the past.
Lard said Hobbs was known for helping young journalists.
“Roy was extremely valuable to what we did and he served as mentor for a lot of young journalists as well,” Lard said.
Hobbs is survived by his wife Ellen, and by his two adult children.
Updated at 5:06 p.m. on 2/19/2018 to add comment from Steve Crocker, WBRC Fox 6 anchor.