MIAMI - Long-time South Florida television news reporter and anchor Joel Connable, 39, died Wednesday after reportedly suffering a diabetic seizure, just days after starting a new job at KOMO-TV in Seatttle.
Connable, who had Type I diabetes since his early teens, carried an insulin pump with him 24 hours a day.
On Wednesday evening, a message from his family was posted on Connable's Facebook page:
"With great sadness we write to tell you of the death of our son, Joel. He had just started a new job at KOMO, the ABC TV station in Seattle, and he was alone in his apartment when his insulin pump malfunctioned. The lead line was disconnected without his realizing it. It was one of those accidents of fate," wrote Joel's parents, Al and Roma Connable.
Soon after the news broke of his passing, friends began posting condolences on Joel's Facebook page, and sharing their memories. From those who knew him well, to those who only knew him from television, one common theme was repeated over and over again: Joel's passion for life and his kindness toward everyone whose lives he touched will never be forgotten.
"Oh, Joel, I am so saddened by your leaving us, you are a light, a force of happiness, a presence of goodness, a will for continuously doing, a duracel of love ... I cannot believe this happened," wrote Nina Maaluf.
"I was a shy, quiet kid in high school and there was a group of kids that were always nice and kind, Joel was one of this people," wrote Brett Spiegel.
Connable grew up on Long Island, where he worked as a paramedic for the Nassau County Police Department before pursuing a career in journalism. He worked as a newscaster in Columbia, South Carolina before he was hired by KCAL-TV in Los Angeles. In 2005, Connable moved to WTVJ in Miami. In 2009, he was fired from WTVJ and he filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against the company. That lawsuit is still pending.
On a personal note, I was blessed to call Joel not just a colleague, but a friend.
The last time I saw him, he had accepted the position at KOMO-TV in Seattle and had gotten engaged to his girlfriend, Angela Shlyakhov.
Despite his love of travel and successful travel-related company, he was thrilled for the opportunity to return to television news.
I find comfort knowing he lived life to the fullest, had absolutely no regrets and died doing what he loved most.
"A bright light has gone out of our lives," his parents said. "Joel was a wonderful, cheerful, courageous guy, absolutely unique on this earth. He spread joy wherever he went."
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