INDIANAPOLIS - Long-time WIBC personality Big John Gillis died at his home Friday night.
A family spokesman told WIBC, RTV6's newsgathering partners, that Gillis had been dealing with some breathing problems over the last couple of weeks, and his body just shut down.
Emmis President and CEO Jeff Smulyan issued a statement.
"WIBC and the entire Emmis family are saddened by the passing of Big John Gillis. John was an icon in central Indiana whose captivating personality touched generations of listeners in our community," the statement read. "John will be missed by all of us. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, Sherry, and his entire family."
Gillis joined the WIBC team in 1968. He started reporting traffic in 1980. Gillis boasted that he'd spent more than 20,000 hours in a "whirlybird" in the sky before his retirement in 2007. Gillis also did traffic reports for RTV6 for a while.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that contributions be made to the Indiana University School of Broadcasting.
Big John Gillis was 65.