Longtime WRCB anchor Bill Markham passes away of complications from ALS

Bill Markham. Photo Owner: WRCB

UPDATE (Tuesday):

Funeral arrangements have been announced.

Markham's memorial service will be Wednesday at 2:00 PM at Peck Funeral Home Chapel.

Visitation will be Wednesday from 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM at Peck Funeral Home in Hartselle, Alabama.

Interment will be in Chattanooga National Cemetery.

UPDATE:

WRCB's David Carroll cites family members in reporting that Markham has passed away.

Our condolnences to Markham's family and WRCB colleagues.

Read more about Markham's life and legacy here.

Funeral arrangements have not been announced. This story will be updated when they have .

PREVIOUSLY:

We are sad to hear that our friend from WRCB Channel 3, Bill Markham, is dealing with ALS, better known as Lou Gehrig's Disease.

Bill was on the air with Channel 3 for more than 25 years. He anchored the news from 1983 to 2009. He and his wife moved Florida to enjoy his retirement, but a few years ago, he became concerned about his health.

His daughter, Mandy Markham Johnson said, "He could see words and know what they were but he couldn't form the words. Obviously, that's very concerning if you're trying to do voice-overs and wanting to be involved in broadcasting in some way even after you're retired."

ALS or Amiotrophic Lateral Sclerosis is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. When the motor neurons die, the ability to control muscle movement is lost. As of right now, there is no cure and no effective treatment.

Pat Flowers of the ALS Association says, "They die either from malnutrition, not utilizing a feeding tube or can't swallow food any longer, or they go into respiratory failure."

Flowers spends a lot of time with patients and is amazed by their desire to change the course of the disease for others.

Flowers says, "They want to do something for the guy that's behind them. They understand, they grieved their diagnosis when it happened. Now they are moving towards how can I help someone else that might have a better quality of life than I did."

Bill and his family want his story shared for that very reason.

His daughter says, "He is handling this better than any of us are. He has had a real positive outlook and said numerous times what a great life he has had."

And a big part of his life was in Chattanooga.

"He said we lived in Chattanooga 30 years, and those years were the best of my life. He really really loved Chattanooga and loved the people there," Mandy says.

Bill is in Hospice Care now with his family in Alabama. If you would like to send a message or a donation in Bill's name to help find a cure, visit billmarkhamlegacy.com.

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