Former CBS 5 sports anchor Gary Cruz dead at 68

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Gary Cruz (Source: CBS 5 via YouTube) Gary Cruz (Source: CBS 5 via YouTube)
(Source: CBS 5 via YouTube) (Source: CBS 5 via YouTube)

Arizona's Family has lost one of its own.

Longtime Phoenix sportscaster Gary Cruz died Thursday morning. He was 68 years old.

Cruz was a sports anchor for years on CBS 5 and was a fixture on Valley sports radio, working on a golf show, his favorite sport. Before his time in Phoenix, Cruz worked in Denver and Los Angeles.

He left television and started CruzWood Communications in 2010. 

Many have seen Cruz on the big screen. He played the role of a newscaster in two blockbuster hits -- "Independence Day" (1996) and "Godzilla" (1998).

[YOUTUBE: Gary Cruz highlights reel]

He loved telling us about what it was like to be in a major feature film. For fun, many in the newsroom would play the clip from "Independence Day"  for Cruz when he walked by. He always responded with a hearty laugh and quoted his lines verbatim. It is a cherished memory today for many of us. 

Those who had the chance to work with him can attest that Cruz was what you saw on air, a warm, friendly and relentlessly positive person. His smile would brighten up the newsroom.

Cruz died after a hard-fought battle with cancer. He leaves behind his beloved wife, Trish, and son, Kevin.

One of Cruz's favorite quotes was from Emmitt Smith -- "It is what it is." Today, many of us are having a hard time embracing that.

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