Russ Cassell, an Upstate native and longtime conservative radio personality, has died.
Radio station WORD 106.3 in Simpsonville made the announcement of his passing Saturday morning. Cassell was 60.
The Greenville native hosted the Russ Cassell Show on WORD 106.3 weekdays from 8 a.m. to noon.
He first came to WFBC AM/FM in 1980 as a color commentary analyst for Clemson Tiger football game broadcasts, according to the station’s website.
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Cassell later worked as the program director, station manager, music director and sales manager until 1992. He began hosting his morning talk show in 1994.
According to the station’s website, he went to Wade Hampton High School and graduated from Clemson University.
The Russ Cassell Show was one of the most popular shows on WORD 106.3 and thousands tuned in every day, station operations manager Bob McLain said in a statement.
“There are some radio personalities who are larger than life. That was Cassell. He was passionate about what he believed and was dedicated to keeping people informed. He was a brilliant and very talented radio host and a personal friend. His loss will be greatly felt by all of us in the WORD family, those who worked with him and those who listened to him,” McLain said in the statement.
Several Spartanburg County state lawmakers learned of Cassell’s death while attending a roundtable with U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas hosted by The Palladian View at the Spartanburg Community College Downtown Campus.
Rep. Rita Allison said she had listened to Cassell on the radio for years.
“He will be missed. This was a real shock,” she said. “It really saddens me. We’ve lost not only a friend, but a conservative voice in the Upstate.”
Rep. Eddie Tallon agreed with Allison.
“I’m very saddened. He was certainly a well-respected radio host in this area,” Tallon said. “He will certainly be missed by all of us.”
Condolences and remarks of his death spread on the radio station’s Facebook page Saturday.
“A huge part of my morning will have a void without Russ informing and educating me to the day’s news and events. You will be missed my friend,” one person wrote.
Radio host and conservative political commentator Mike Gallagher expressed his sympathies through the Conservative Talk 94.5 FM’s Facebook page.
“I’m shocked and saddened to learn of the sudden passing of longtime Upstate, S.C. radio host Russ Cassell. We worked together and were friends for many years. ... His impact in the Upstate after all these years is unquestionable,” Gallagher wrote. “He will be missed. Our deepest prayers go out to his family during this difficult time.”
The station will continue to remember and pay tribute to Cassell with special programming from 8 a.m. to noon next week.