WASHINGTON — Bruce Johnson, a beloved longtime WUSA9 anchor, died of a heart attack Sunday morning in Delaware. He was 71.

He is survived by his wife, Lori, three children -- Brandon, Kurshanna and Carolyn -- and four grandchildren.

The legendary Johnson devoted 44 years of his professional life to telling remarkable stories for WUSA9 from March 16, 1976 through his retirement on Dec. 31, 2020. He was the author of three books: “Heart to Heart,” “All or Nothing” and “Surviving Deep Waters.”

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Over the course of his career, Johnson won 22 Emmys, was a member of the Society of Professional Journalists Hall of Fame, the Washington, DC Hall of Fame and the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame at the University of Kentucky. He was honored with nearly every journalism award of distinction, including the Ted Yates Award and the NATAS Board of Governors Award and is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists and the National Press Club.

He filed special reports from Rome, Bangkok, Moscow, Budapest and Cuba. He has received hundreds of civic awards from DC organizations, from the city’s mayors and a Resolution in his honor from the DC City Council.

But what set Johnson apart from the legions of television reporters and anchors, what defined his time at WUSA9, was his dedication to the people he reported on, and the humanity with which he told their stories. From Freddie Gray to the Flower family, Rashema Melson, Marion Barry and even a youth football team trying to get to the championship in Orlando, Johnson poured his heart into every assignment. 

The Johnson family has asked for privacy in this difficult time and WUSA9 wishes to respect that. We are eternally thankful for Johnson’s endless contributions over the years, and he will be deeply missed by his television family, many of whom counted Johnson as one of their closest friends. WUSA9 will share remembrances that honor his legacy at the appropriate time.

WUSA9 is now on Roku and Amazon Fire TVs. Download the apps today for live newscasts and video on demand.

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