Longtime Fox News Channel personality Alan Colmes — the sharp-witted liberal who regularly went toe-to-toe against his conservative counterpart Sean Hannity — died Thursday morning in New York.
He was 66.
Colmes’ family released a statement saying he passed away after a “brief illness” but did not provide specifics.
“He was a great guy, brilliant, hysterical and moral. He was fiercely loyal and the only thing he loved more than his work was his life with [wife] Jocelyn [Crowley],” the statement said.
Colmes’ career in the spotlight began as a stand-up comedian before morphing into stints hosting radio shows on WNBC and WABC in the 1980s, Fox said in a special segment dedicated to the late newsman.
In 1996, the New York-born Hofstra University graduate joined Fox, taking a seat in front of the TV camera and next to hard-right Hannity for their “Hannity & Colmes” debate show.
The show aired until 2009.
In a statement, Hannity said he was “truly heartbroken at the loss of a dear friend.”
“Despite major political differences, we forged a deep friendship,” Hannity said. “Alan, in the midst of great sickness and illness, showed the single greatest amount of courage I’ve ever seen. And through it all, he showed his incredible wit and humor that was Alan’s signature throughout his entire life.”
Hannity added that Colmes was “one of the life’s most decent, kind and wonderful people you’d ever want to meet.”
Colmes and Crowley, a professor of public policy at Rutgers University, married in 2003.
That same year, Colmes published his book, “Red, White & Liberal: How Left is Right and Right is Wrong.”
Despite his liberal appearance on air, Colmes said he considered himself “quite moderate” and described himself as a “left-of-center humorist.”
“I follow [Rush] Limbaugh on about 100 stations and I precede other conservatives, so I may be the only person giving a different point of view,” he told USA Today in 1995.
Politicians paid tribute to Colmes on Twitter.
“Alan Colmes showed us all how to argue an opinion fiercely w/out sacrificing civility – he will be missed,” tweeted Sen. John McCain.
Former Arksansas Gov. Mike Huckabee wrote, “Just heard the death of Alan Colmes; the kind of liberal I loved-smart, witty, and fair; never backed up, but always backed up his views. RIP.”
News of his death comes after the network announced Monday that anchor Brenda Buttner died following a battle with cancer.
Buttner, who hosted the “Bulls and Bears” show, was 55.
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