How did Kent Dana die? Tributes pour in as beloved news anchor dies aged 80

Kent Dana recently died at the age of 94 (Image via LaurieRoberts/Twitter)
Kent Dana recently died at the age of 94 (Image via LaurieRoberts/Twitter)
Anupal Sraban Neog

Renowned news anchor Kent Dana passed away on April 19 at the age of 80. The news was confirmed by his son and reporter, Joe Dana.

On the topic of his father, Joe said,

“I just think his story is a fascinating Arizona story. I think he always felt like local TV news was a very unique way to connect the community, to bring people together. It was more meaningful for him because it was his home.”
Waking up to this news. Kent Dana, an Arizona news icon and former anchor at CBS 5, has died at the age of 80. #RIP Prayers to Your Family. Details at #AZFamily…
Kent Dana, legendary Phoenix TV news anchor at 3 Valley stations, dies… via @azcentral

Kent Dana’s cause of death


Kent Dana died following a long battle with an infection after a broken hip. He broke his hip in January 2022 which led to a serious infection, and he suffered complications following his hip surgery.

A news outlet reported that he spent several weeks in the hospital before his condition worsened, eventually causing death. It remains unknown if he suffered any other health issues in the past.

Kent’s career and personal life

Kent Dana gained recognition as an anchor on 12 News (Image via mcurtis12news/Twitter)
Kent Dana gained recognition as an anchor on 12 News (Image via mcurtis12news/Twitter)

Kent became interested in journalism because of his father Joe, who became popular with the weekly show Arizona Caravan on Channel 5. He grew up as the third of seven children in a house near Central Avenue and Thomas Road.

After graduating from West High School, Kent attended ASU for a year. He then went on a two-year mission to Uruguay for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. In the following years, he studied broadcast journalism at Brigham Young University and worked at a Provo radio station.

Post-college, Kent worked at gas stations and took up the role of a weekend anchor for KOOL-TV. His biggest breakthrough came in 1979 when he joined12 News as the male evening anchor. He continued in that role from 1979 to 2004 and then went on to anchor at CBS 5 for five years, starting in 2005.


Dana won several Emmy Awards and was inducted into the Arizona Broadcasters Hall of Fame. He received the Rocky Mountain Emmy Governor’s Award in 2018. Dana attributed his success to his co-anchors and longtime producer, Julie Frisoni Shumway.

Shumway and Dana worked together for many years, and created the two projects Kent was most proud of in his career, namely Wednesday’s Child and Silent Witness.

Wednesday’s Child was a partnership with Aid to Adoption for Special Kids. He profiled children in the foster system and heard their stories to facilitate adoption efforts. Kent would banter and laugh with the kids, truly enjoying the conversations.

Netizens pay tribute on Twitter

Fans expressed their sadness and paid tribute to him on Twitter after they heard about his demise:

There was a time long ago when being on Phoenix TV or radio actually mattered. At one time, it was a big deal. Kent was one of the best for decades. The entire Dana family continues to be an Arizona treasure. Thoughts and prayers from all of the Pratts. God speed my friend.
God bless Kent Dana. He'd frequently call in to my 9-midnight KTAR show as he was just getting off work. I'd intro him as 'Kent Dana is demanding air time!' We had a blast & I was honored that he was even listening. Praying for @JoeDanaReports & family 🙏
Everyone coming up in the business in the Valley looked up to Kent Dana. I never had the opportunity to work with him but he cast a long shadow for journalists everywhere. Condolences to the Dana family.…
I am heartbroken right now and frankly, at a loss for words about the passing of my dear friend and former co-anchor Kent Dana. I will have more to say tomorrow. But for now, I'll leave you with this video from our last day together on the anchor desk 💔…
An Arizona icon and an institution within news reporting. Kent Dana’s voice and face will be missed for generations to come. Because people like Mr. Dana are a result of why Arizona is a magnificent state to live in.…
Thinking of the Dana Family this morning. Kent was kind, funny and a patient teacher when I was starting out at KPHO nearly 15 years ago. It's an honor to have learned from the best!…
Keeping ⁦@JoeDanaReports⁩ and the Dana family in my thoughts and prayers.Kent Dana passes away at 80 years old.…
Sadly, I do not remember any of Kent Dana’s favorite restaurants. RIP to an Arizona news legend. 3/3
Legendary indeed 💔Kent Dana is an institution for those of us who grew up watching him. Thinking of his family, friends and former colleagues tonight.…
Sad news. We enjoyed Kent Dana's work for years and years. My sincere condolences to his family and friends!…

Kent is survived by his wife Janet, six children, and thirteen grandchildren.

Edited by Mohini Banerjee


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