|Brad Stafford (WBTV.com)|
Stafford, who turned 67 this week, had been planning on retiring when he was diagnosed with cancer late last month.
"He was a stalwart photographer," Channel 3's news director Dennis Milligan said on the station's website. "He was one of the nicest people you'd ever know. He always tackled every assignment with a sense of professionalism."
Stafford's career saw the demise of bulky film and the development of videotape and other technical advances. For a time, he was photographer for the station's popular "Carolina Camera" show -- he once got airsick while filming a military jet do acrobatics and got stuck in a hoist 150 feet above ground while shooting a segment on Voice of America's huge antenna farm in Eastern North Carolina. He also covered many of the city's calamities including Hurricane Hugo in 1989.
"Brad was one of the nicest people I have ever worked with or known anywhere," said Joseph Travis, who worked with Stafford for years at WBTV. "Always a smile, always a helping hand."
Said anchor Maureen O'Boyle on Twitter: "God broke the mold when he created Brad Stafford."
Stafford talking about shooting "Carolina Camera"
C.J. Underwood and other "Carolina Camera" personalities looking back in 1980 on the first 10 years of the show, which were all shot on film.