Longtime Channel 7 photographer Artie Williams III died over the weekend while diving with a friend off Catalina Island, the station announced. ABC7 General Manager Arnie Kleiner told the newsroom: "It is with an extremely heavy heart that I must share with you the news of the passing of our dear friend and colleague ENG Photographer Artie Williams. We don't have a lot of details right now, but he apparently suffered some kind of medical emergency while diving with a friend off Catalina Island this morning (Saturday). Authorities told us very late tonight that Artie's family had been notified, but we have not yet been able to speak to them directly.
"We will share with you whatever information we can gather as soon as we have it'. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family. This is a terrible loss for all of the ABC7 family as well."
* Update: The Los Angeles chapter of SPJ has put out a statement:
The Greater Los Angeles chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists mourns the loss of veteran ABC 7 cameraman Artie Williams III, who died over the weekend while diving off of Catalina Island. Williams was described by his colleagues as a “real prince of a guy” with a huge heart. He was known for providing a helping hand to other photographers, reporters and interns. His was always a friendly face to see out in the field.
“The journalism community in Los Angeles has lost a talented person who was a friend and mentor to many,” SPJ/LA President Alice Walton said . “SPJ/LA extends its condolences to Artie’s ABC7 colleagues and his family. He will be sorely missed.”