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'GMA' weather anchor Sam Champion's father dies

October 26, 2010 | 11:07 am

Sam Champion of GMA "Good Morning America" weather anchor Sam Champion tweeted Monday that he was with his family at his father's bedside, and likely wouldn't be back to "GMA" this week.

Lt. Col. James H. Champion died that night at age 75, ABC News reported Tuesday.

The elder Champion enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1953 and served in Japan and Hawaii before getting a college degree, ABC reports. He returned to active duty in 1962 and later served in Vietnam, earning two bronze stars and other decorations in combat that included the Tet Offensive. He retired from active duty in 1981.

In addition to Sam, James Champion is survived by his wife, Sylvia, daughter Teresa and her husband, and two grandchildren. Details about his cause of death were not released.

Sam's "tight-knit military family is strong and hanging together to face their time of grief," the executive producer of "GMA" wrote in a message to the show's staff Tuesday. Champion has been the "GMA" weather guy since 2006.

-- Christie D'Zurilla

Photo: Sam Champion at a New York event in 2008. Credit: Peter Kramer / Associated Press