Christopher Sign, Former Alabama Football Player and News Anchor, Dead at 45

Christopher Sign, a former University of Alabama football player who was also a news anchor at ABC 33/40 in Birmingham, Alabama, died on Saturday, the station announced. He was 45 years old. Police told AL.com that Sign died of an apparent suicide.

"Our deepest sympathy is shared with Christopher's loving family and close friends," ABC 33/40 VP and general manager Eric Land said in a statement. "We have lost a revered colleague whose indelible imprint will serve forever as a hallmark of decency, honesty and journalist integrity. We can only hope to carry on his legacy. May his memory be for blessing."

Sign played offensive line for Alabama from 1994-1997 for coaches Gene Stalling and Mike Dubose. His wife, Laura, played volleyball at Alabama, and the couple had three sons. He started his reporting career in Montgomery, Alabama and then moved to Midland/Odessa, Texas where he covered some of the area's top stories, according to his bio. Sign then made his way to Birmingham to work for ABC 33/40 where he earned several awards for his stories.

"I can’t believe we have an article with this title. It doesn’t feel real. We were in the office together last night cutting up like we always do. I don’t understand why. I can’t talk about you in the past tense. The grief today is unbearable," sports anchor Jaime Hale wrote on Twitter.

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After spending some time in Birmingham, Sign moved to Phoenix where he worked for nearly 13 years. He was a morning anchor for the ABC affiliate in the area and won four Emmy Awards. Sign broke the story of the June 2016 secret tarmac meeting between former President Bill Clinton and then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

"What most people don’t know is Chris turned down an opportunity to work for one of the national networks to come to ABC 33/40, and he made that decision because of his family," the Birmingham station wrote in a tribute to their employee. "That decision put him in a place where he could see his boys off to school in the mornings, watch them play baseball in the evenings, and take them fishing on the weekends." If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741-741.