Rich Brenner, former FOX8 Sports anchor, dead at 65

HIGH POINT, N.C. — Rich Brenner, a FOX8 sports anchor for nearly 21 years, has died.

Rich, a major part of the FOX8 Family for decades, died of a heart attack Monday night, according to his wife, Judy. He was 65.

Rich was attending the American Red Cross’s second annual “Salute to Heroes” event at the Carolina Theatre in Greensboro when he collapsed. Paramedics at the event were unable to revive Rich, and he was pronounced dead at Moses Cone Hospital.

FOX8′s official statement | First responders react | Rich Brenner coverage

Rich, who covered everything from NASCAR and the Panthers to the ACC and high school sports, joined FOX8 in 1987. He retired in April 2008.

Videos: The Very Best of Rich | Rich’s Last Commentary on FOX8

“It’s very ironic that we’re breaking into coverage the Daytona 500 to bring you this announcement, because Rich was one of the very first local sportscasters to really commit to NASCAR coverage. It was one of his real passions,” said FOX8 sports anchor Kevin Connolly, who worked with Rich for many years.

Rich, originally from Merchantville, New Jersey, was a United States Marine. He got started with broadcasting in 1967, between his sophomore and junior years of college, as a correspondent in Vietnam.

Rich started in TV full-time in 1975 as a sportscaster in Lynchburg, Va. He later worked in Portsmouth, Va., Raleigh and Chicago before coming to FOX8.

FOX8 Family shares memories | Remembering Rich on Twitter, Facebook | Kevin talks about Rich

“One of the things that I hope people will understand is he was a teacher. The number of interns and college students who studied under Rich and then got into the business reaches well into the hundreds. I’m just an example of that. I was a young kid coming out of High Point College. I knew nothing about television. He welcomed me, and he taught me everything,” Kevin said.

His awards included the Silver Circle Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, three Southeast Regional Emmy awards, a National Iris Award and the Charlie Harville award.

Once Rich retired from television, he did many public appearances, particularly those that saluted people in the community, including the military.

More: Rich helps charities until very end

Along with Judy, Rich is survived by his son, Shawn, his daughter, Leslie, and two grandsons.

Visitation will start Friday at 5 p.m. at Hanes Lineberry Sedgefield Funeral Home at 6000 High Point Road in Greensboro.

The funeral will take place Saturday at 1 p.m. at Aycock Auditorium on the campus of UNC-Greensboro. The auditorium is located at 408 Tate Street.

Both events will be open to the public.

In lieu of flowers, the family is asking people to donate to one of three charities close to Rich. Those are the Carolina Field of Honor with the War Memorial Foundation, Victory Junction and the UNC-Greensboro Rich Brenner Scholarship Fund.

Hundreds of people have taken to social media to leave their condolences. Most have left their memories on our Facebook page, and you can leave yours there as well.

Complete coverage of Rich Brenner’s passing.