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The Tuscaloosa News announced the passing of legendary sports writer Cecil Hurt on Tuesday afternoon. He was 62. 

Hurt died at UAB Hospital in Birmingham from complications from pneumonia. He had been hospitalized, first in Tuscaloosa, for roughly two weeks. 

Although Hurt also had the title of sports editor, it was as a columnist that Hurt made his biggest imparticle became  a must-read for Crimson Tide fans. 

In 2019, he received the Mel Allen Media Award from the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame. It honors those who made a lifetime contribution to sports through their work as a media member in the state.

The only other recipients of the award are John Pruett (2014), George Smith (2014), Tom Roberts (2015), Ron Ingram (2017), and Paul Finebaum (2020).

“Cecil Hurt was a good friend and one of the best sports writers I have ever had the privilege of working with, not just at Alabama, but at all of our coaching stops," Alabama coach Nick Saban said in a statement. "He was a man of integrity and a fair-minded journalist blessed with wit, wisdom and an ability to paint a picture with his words that few have possessed. 

"Cecil was loved throughout this community and state as an old-school journalist who covered the Alabama beat with class and professionalism. He was a role model for young writers and the most trusted source of news for Alabama fans everywhere. He leaves a wonderful legacy as one of sports journalism’s best. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends as well as Alabama fans everywhere who loved Cecil as much as we did.”

Hurt, winner of numerous writing awards, including the 2018 National Sports Media Association's Alabama Sportswriter of the Year, had covered Crimson Tide sports for The Tuscaloosa News since 1982.

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He was born in Tuscaloosa, graduated from the University of Alabama and worked for the UA athletic department as an undergrad during the Paul W. “Bear” Bryant era. His father had played football for the coach.

“When I first came to work at the Tuscaloosa News I was intimidated as hell by Cecil,” said former executive sports editor Edwin Stanton. “He was such a gifted writer and there was nothing he didn’t know - not just about Alabama athletics. 

“But once I got to know him he was kind and generous and always helpful to me. I’ll forever be thankful I got to know him and work with such a wonderful person.”

Hurt's identity went well beyond the newspaper world. Not only was he a regular and prominent guest on "The Paul Finebaum Show," both in its radio and TV forms, but was usually the first media guest of the football season on the Nick Saban radio show. 

When they weren't checking out his articles, fans would often try and see what book the voracious reader would be carrying to games.  

"In all my years of being a sports writer I never met anyone like him," said Christopher Walsh, president of the Alabama Sports Writers Association. "Cecil was one of a kind. Brilliant doesn't begin to describe him, he was beyond that. He had the respect and admiration of not just his peers but everyone he came in contact with as a reporter and journalist. 

"It was an honor and a pleasure to work with him at the Tuscaloosa News. He will be greatly missed." 

UPDATE: From the Tuscaloosa News, a memorial service has been scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 8, at 1 p.m. at Christ Episcopal Church in Tuscaloosa.