Dave Schwartz, a longtime Weather Channel meteorologist who early this year told his viewers about his struggle with cancer, died of the disease Saturday. He was 63.
The Weather Channel, based in Atlanta, announced his death on its website but did not say where he died. Schwartz learned he had stage 2 pancreatic cancer 10 years ago, the station said, but twice overcame it before it resurfaced last year.
Often referring to viewers as “my friends” before giving forecasts, Schwartz presented an easygoing manner and a gentle sense of humor that made him popular with viewers, the station said.
He was born on Feb. 20, 1953, in Philadelphia, where he grew up and earned a degree in psychology from Temple University. He received a certificate in meteorology studies from Mississippi State University.
Schwartz joined the Weather Channel in 1985, initially as a newsroom assistant while working for the Fulton County Health Department in Georgia. He became an on-camera meteorologist in 1991.
In an online interview with the Weather Channel in March, Schwartz said he had learned of his cancer after noticing a yellow tint to his skin and eyes while applying his on-camera makeup. When a procedure to remove a tumor proved unsuccessful, doctors gave him a year to live. But subsequent treatments and a second surgical procedure were successful, and Schwartz was declared cancer-free.
Months later, thecancer returned, but again treatment succeeded, in part because doctors could target a particular gene mutation found in Schwartz. (Doctors had urged him to undergo genetic testing, he said, because they knew that the mutation was more common among descendants of Ashkenazi Jews of Eastern Europe, as he was.) He was declared cancer-free again.
On receiving the diagnosis a third time, in 2015, Schwartz took time off but rallied enough to return to the studio early this year and address his viewers.
“I want to let you know the reason why I have lost 35 pounds in the last five months is that I am being treated for cancer,” he said on camera in February. “Stomach cancer, of all things, for a foodie.”
He went on to encourage cancer patients to seek out specialized cancer-treatment centers and not to lose hope.
There was no immediate word on his survivors.
Schwartz, who was married, said he and his wife had become philosophical about his condition.
“None of us is guaranteed tomorrow — we all know that,” he said in the Weather Channel interview. “As far as I’m concerned, whether you have cancer or not we are all in the same boat. None of us really know that we have more time than what we have right now. So I’m no different than anyone else. I have my struggle, I have my cross to bear — other people have their crosses to bear — and let’s hope that we wake up alive tomorrow.”