Acclaimed TV anchor Todd Tongen was found dead in his Florida home this weekend after missing his Sunday show.
Tongen has won an Emmy for his work on WPLG TV in Miami, where he has worked for almost three decades. However, on Sunday that lauded career came to an end when Tongen was found dead in his home by a local police officer. According to a report by WPLG, authorities went looking for Tongen in part because he missed the morning broadcast.
Tongen's wife, Karen reportedly called a friend when she could not reach her husband. She was out of town for the weekend, and found it odd that Tongen was not responding.
Before long, the police were drawn into the search as well, and Tongen was found at his home in Southwest Ranches. So far, a cause of death has not been released, but the local community and the world of journalism in general is mourning the sudden loss of a legend.
"Journalists are trained to cover heart-breaking tragedies. They perform their duties under stress even when they are in pain and they often mourn with the community," tweeted the official WPLG account on Sunday. "It wasn't any different today when the @WPLGLocal10 team lost one of their own."
At the time of his death, Tongen was a weekend anchor at the station, although he had filled many roles in his time there. He reportedly began his career in the December of 1989, when he was still in his mid-twenties. The station described him as having a "unique style and warm personality," adding that: "viewers have witnessed his indelible charm and wit."
Tongen hailed from Minnesota originally, although he moved around in pursuit of broadcast opportunities. He worked briefly in Colorado, and then in Arkansas before landing in Florida, where he has lived ever since.
Tongen shared two sons with Karen, Tyler and Ryker. In a 2015 broadcast, he admitted that he was already content with his legacy, and his "bucket list" did not contain many unchecked boxes.0comments
"I've already skydived, bungee jumped, ridden on the back of a whale, flown with the Blue Angels and the Thunderbirds, so there's not a lot left on my bucket list," Tongen told Local 10 in 2015. "Maybe, ah, crochet a sweater or, you know, I would love to, you know -- travel would be big on my bucket list. I'd like to go to Bora Bora and I'd like to -- I'd love to -- be in another feature film. I'd like to be in a blockbuster film, even in the smallest role. I'd just like, you know, a big hit, so I could say, you know, take my boys to it, 'There's dad.'"
Tongen's death is still under investigation. The community is mourning a local legend.