Legendary Tuscaloosa News sports editor and columnist Cecil Hurt died on Tuesday in Birmingham, Alabama from complications from pneumonia. He was 62.
Hurt, who was well-regarded around the college football world for his coverage of the Alabama Crimson Tide, began his time at The Tuscaloosa News in 1982 as a sports writer. He was promoted to become the newspaper’s sports editor and columnist seven years later, a title that he held at the time of his death.
Earlier this month, Hurt's family posted a statement on Twitter revealing that Cecil had been admitted to the hospital after developing pneumonia. The notice spurred on messages of support from fellow writers around college football, as well as one from Alabama head coach Nick Saban.
Ken Roberts, city editor of The Tuscaloosa News, put into words exactly how much Hurt meant to the newspaper and the area that he covered.
"In pro football, teams put a 'franchise' tag on their most valuable players, and at The Tuscaloosa News, Cecil was the franchise,” Roberts said, per Tommy Deas. “Our readers considered his column an essential part of being an Alabama football fan.
"I've attended Alabama football games for more than 30 years and many, many times I've overheard a fan in stands saying, 'I wonder what Cecil Hurt will say about this.' I think that shows the power of his skills as a writer.
"The University of Alabama has that slogan, 'Where Legends Are Made," and whenever I see that I think, 'The only legend I've known personally is Cecil Hurt.’
"We've lost a truly unique voice and we will miss Cecil as a consummate professional and, most importantly, as a person."
Hurt's perspective on Alabama athletics was always one that was treasured by local fans will now be one that is sorely missed.
Hurt is survived by his mother Carol Messina, brother Cary Hurt and sister Caren Hidgon.