MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Longtime former WMC reporter/anchor Ben Watson suffered a fatal heart attack in Memphis on Wednesday night. He was 63 years old.
Paramedics restored Watson's pulse but his heart suffered severe damage, according to his son, Benjamin Watson.
The family was assembled at ICU at St Francis Hospital where Watson was pronounced dead.
"The last gift my father gave was the gift of life," the younger Watson said. "My father was an organ donor."
Ben Watson attended Central Michigan University and went to work at Channel 8 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in the early 1980s. Watson was hired by WMC News Director Mason Granger in 1986 as a General Assignment Reporter and that began a long running love affair between the reporter and the city he covered.
"My father loved Memphis and Memphis loved him," said Benjamin Watson who grew up visiting his father at WMC, examining his scripts and learning the ropes of the news business. Benjamin is now a photographer with WSB in Atlanta.
"That newsroom is my home as well," Benjamin said.
A man of enduring faith, Ben was a member of COGIC Temple of Deliverance.
"The strong sense of faith my father had came through his demeanor that anyone could see," Benjamin said.
Ben was also an excellent journalist. In one of his most memorable stories, he featured the Memphis mortician who prepared Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s body for burial. That story can be viewed below:
Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland extended his condolences to the Watson family:
Visitation is set for Saturday, Feb. 17 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at NJ Ford & Sons Funeral Home on South Parkway.
Funeral services will be held Sunday, Feb. 18 at 2:30 p.m. at Temple of Deliverance Church on G.E. Patterson.