Renowned news anchor Kent Dana passed away on April 19 at the age of 80. The news was confirmed by his son and reporter, Joe Dana.
On the topic of his father, Joe said,
“I just think his story is a fascinating Arizona story. I think he always felt like local TV news was a very unique way to connect the community, to bring people together. It was more meaningful for him because it was his home.”
Kent Dana’s cause of death
Kent Dana died following a long battle with an infection after a broken hip. He broke his hip in January 2022 which led to a serious infection, and he suffered complications following his hip surgery.
A news outlet reported that he spent several weeks in the hospital before his condition worsened, eventually causing death. It remains unknown if he suffered any other health issues in the past.
Kent’s career and personal life
Kent became interested in journalism because of his father Joe, who became popular with the weekly show Arizona Caravan on Channel 5. He grew up as the third of seven children in a house near Central Avenue and Thomas Road.
After graduating from West High School, Kent attended ASU for a year. He then went on a two-year mission to Uruguay for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. In the following years, he studied broadcast journalism at Brigham Young University and worked at a Provo radio station.
Post-college, Kent worked at gas stations and took up the role of a weekend anchor for KOOL-TV. His biggest breakthrough came in 1979 when he joined12 News as the male evening anchor. He continued in that role from 1979 to 2004 and then went on to anchor at CBS 5 for five years, starting in 2005.
Dana won several Emmy Awards and was inducted into the Arizona Broadcasters Hall of Fame. He received the Rocky Mountain Emmy Governor’s Award in 2018. Dana attributed his success to his co-anchors and longtime producer, Julie Frisoni Shumway.
Shumway and Dana worked together for many years, and created the two projects Kent was most proud of in his career, namely Wednesday’s Child and Silent Witness.
Wednesday’s Child was a partnership with Aid to Adoption for Special Kids. He profiled children in the foster system and heard their stories to facilitate adoption efforts. Kent would banter and laugh with the kids, truly enjoying the conversations.
Netizens pay tribute on Twitter
Fans expressed their sadness and paid tribute to him on Twitter after they heard about his demise:
Kent is survived by his wife Janet, six children, and thirteen grandchildren.