BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - WJBO Radio confirmed early Wednesday morning longtime Baton Rouge television and radio personality Ed Buggs has passed away at age 55.
His business partner was having trouble getting in touch with him Tuesday night and called the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office. Deputies found Buggs at his home, but it was too late. Family members believe he died from a heart attack. An autopsy will be conducted to determine an official cause.
His motto was "with a mic and a mission." Buggs began his career in Baton Rouge with Channel 2, moved to Texas for a while, but came back. His voice was very recognizable on the airwaves when he started up the Ed Buggs Show on WIBR 1300 AM.
"I'm just really shocked, I don't know what to say," said one WJBO caller. "It's a really sad day for all of television and radio here in Baton Rouge," said another.
The news was not what listeners were expecting. The man with one of the most recognizable voices in television and radio, a man who many say kicked off his career by breaking the color barrier as an anchor on Channel 2, and the man who broke some big stories.
One caller remembered, "He was one hell of a news guy. And he got the scoop of the century when he was at the airport and that guy shot the other guy."
"I consider him a Christian brother, I consider him a class act," was how another caller expressed the loss. "We have lost a great American."
Before making a switch to radio, for a short time Buggs also helped out with Hurricane Katrina coverage at WAFB.
"Listening to Ed or Clarence kind of calmed us down, because we knew we were hearing somebody we knew," said Lionel Coleman.
Coleman bought Sarge's, Ed's father's old store in Scotlandville 23 years ago. From time to time, Coleman said Buggs would pop up to check on the old store. Buggs was one guy who kept Baton Rouge watching and listening, despite dealing with his own personal demons.
"He had a stumble or two," Coleman said. "He never held his head down."
Mayor Kip Holden, who worked with Buggs, said the community is missing a huge cornerstone. Holden said Buggs' legacy will teach others to keep pushing for better.