Saturday, October 10, 2009

WDBJ weatherman undergoes chemotherapy

WDBJ-TV announced Friday morning that Leo Hirsbrunner has cancer.

WDBJ-TV meteorologist Leo Hirsbrunner has cancer, the station announced Friday.

Hirsbrunner, who does the weather during the station's "News 7 Mornin' " and "News 7 at Noon," is undergoing chemotherapy that will take him off the air for periods of time.

News director Amy Morris would not disclose the type of cancer Hirsbrunner has, or say how long he has had it. Hirsbrunner has missed several broadcasts for more than two weeks.

"He will be on and off the air depending on how he's feeling," Morris said. He could be back on air as early as this weekend, she said.

The station announced Hirsbrunner's illness during Friday's morning news broadcast with a videotaped message from chief meteorologist Robin Reed.

"In recent weeks, you may have noticed our 'News 7 Mornin' ' meteorologist Leo Hirsbrunner has not been on the air regularly," Reed said. "Leo has cancer and is taking chemotherapy treatments. He is a private person, but he wanted you to know he appreciates the outpouring of concern and support."

Reed added that WDBJ staffers are wearing green wristbands in Hirsbrunner's honor.

Hirsbrunner, who is in his 30s according to station management, came to WDBJ in 2000 as a weekend weatherman. A New England native, he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in meteorology from Lyndon State College in Vermont and is a certified broadcast meteorologist, a title earned from the American Meteorological Society.

According to his bio on the Channel 7 Web site, his passion for weather originated when a major snowstorm blanketed his hometown in 1978.

The station released a statement from Hirsbrunner that read, "I really look forward to days when I feel well enough to work. As the weather gets cooler, snow can't be far behind. And I love snow."

Hirsbrunner lives in Roanoke County with his wife, Karen, and young son, Ayden.

Weather Journal

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