How did Cecil Hurt die? Alabama football fans considered reporter's columns 'essential'

'Cecil passed peacefully while surrounded by family and a close friend'


                            How did Cecil Hurt die? Alabama football fans considered reporter's columns 'essential'
Cecil Hurt was a noted sports journalist known for his coverage of Alabama football (Tuscaloosa News)
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In a blow to the world of sports journalism, noted sports journalist and columnist Cecil Hurt has died at the age of 62 years. A longtime reporter with The Tuscaloosa News, Hurt was known for his extensive coverage of football games in Alabama for over three decades. His tragic death was mourned by hundreds of football fans and sports personalities, alongside the journalist fraternity. Hurt's family confirmed the news of his death on Tuesday, November 23, 2021, via a formal statement. "Cecil passed peacefully while surrounded by family and a close friend. Please keep Cecil's family in your prayers as they cope with his passing," it read. 

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Ken Roberts, City Editor of The Tuscaloosa News mourned Hurt's death saying, "In pro football, teams put a 'franchise' tag on their most valuable players, and at The Tuscaloosa News, Cecil was the franchise. Our readers considered his column an essential part of being an Alabama football fan." He continued, "The University of Alabama has that slogan, 'Where Legends Are Made," and whenever I see that I think, 'The only legend I've known personally is Cecil Hurt. We've lost a truly unique voice and we will miss Cecil as a consummate professional and, most importantly, as a person."

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Born in Tuscaloosa and brought up in Huntsville, the Alabama native attended Butler High School. His interest in sports was perhaps inculcated through his father, a football player and a special education teacher. Hurt later earned a graduate degree in English with a minor in psychology in 1981 from the University of Alabama. During college, Hurt's tryst with sports journalism started as he was working as a student assistant in the sports information office. 

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He joined Tuscaloosa News in 1982 and started covering football, basketball, baseball, and other sports as well. However, he occasionally strayed from his prime domain to aid the Tuscaloosa News team in other local coverage. In fact, Hurt was an integral part of the Tuscaloosa News team which won the Pulitzer Prize for their 2011 tornado coverage. In his own domain, Hurt was awarded the Mel Allen Media Award in 2019 followed by more than a dozen other national awards for sports journalism. In 2016 as well as 2019, Cecil Hurt was named the National Sports Media Association’s Alabama Sportswriter of the Year.

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Hurt's cause of death has been revealed to be pneumonia-related complications. He died on November 23 at the UAB Hospital in Birmingham surrounded by his loved ones. He is survived by his mother Carol Messina, brother Cary Hurt and his wife Aimee, sister Caren Hidgon and husband Ray. 

"For more than 40 years, Cecil Hurt was there to tell our stories with wit, style and grace. A legendary figure, gone too soon," Alabama Athletics mourned Hurt's death in a tweet.

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 Sports host Jim Dunaway tweeted, "Cecil Hurt wrote the history of Alabama Football for my adult life. He was the funniest man on this platform and a caring soul in person. I pray the roses in his eternal home are forever Crimson."

"Cecil was the best. An incredible resource when it came to reporting because he’d forgotten more than most of us will ever know. But more than that, you could just kick back and talk about anything with him. He was always reading/watching/eating something interesting. Damn," mourned Andy Staples from The Athletic.

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"Cecil Hurt was a national treasure, man. He was a national treasure from our own little corner of the map. He was brilliant. He was a master. But most importantly Cecil was kind and cared. He believed in the power of good people and I’m really going to miss our time together," columnist Joseph Goodman said.


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