Woody Durham, Longtime Voice of the Tar Heels, Has Passed Away at 76
After 40 years as the beloved radio play-by-play broadcaster for the North Carolina Tar Heels football and men's basketball teams, Woody Durham passed away early this morning at his Chapel Hill home, The News & Observer reports. He was 76 years old.
According to reports, Durham died from complications of Primary Progressive Aphasia, a neurocognitive disease that eventually robbed him of his ability to speak.
"Our family is grateful for the incredible support my dad and our family received throughout his illness," Durham's eldest son Wes said in a statement. "From the medical teams to the general public, it's been amazing. We hold to and will always cherish the wonderful memories he left for our family and Carolina fans throughout the world."
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Born in Mebane and raised in Albemarle, Durham graduated from UNC in 1963. He was the Tar Heels' radio voice from 1971 until his retirement in 2011. Over the course of his illustrious career, he called 23 Tar Heel football bowl games, 13 men's basketball Final Fours and six national championship games, including the NCAA title-winning seasons in 1982, 1993, 2005 and 2009.
Fans remember him for his melodic voice and signature catch phrases, including "Good gosh, gurdy!" and, "Go where you go, and do what you do."
"It's a very sad day for everyone who loves the University of North Carolina because we have lost someone who spent nearly 50 years as one of its greatest champions and ambassadors," Roy Williams, the UNC men's basketball coach, said in a statement. "My heart goes out to Jean, Wes, Taylor and their entire family.
"It's ironic that Woody would pass away at the start of the postseason in college basketball because this was such a joyous time for him," Williams continued. "He created so many lasting memories for Carolina fans during this time of year. It's equally ironic that he dealt with a disorder for the final years of his life that robbed him of his ability to communicate as effectively as he did in perfecting his craft."
Our hearts go out to his family, friends and the Tar Heel community.