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All of us at KHOU were very sorry to learn that our colleague and friend Brad Woodard passed away this week at his home in Houston. Authorities discovered his body Wednesday morning after a relative called police to check on him after Brad failed to return several phone calls. Investigators say there was no evidence of foul play.

Brad was very proudly an old school journalist, always quick to defend an underdog in need. Within the television news community, he was widely regarded as one of the best writers in the business.

We ll forever remember Brad as a kind man with a soft heart. He had two great passions---storytelling and animals. Frequently, Brad turned a light on those who abused or neglected innocent creatures and his work on animal abuse---and many other topics---won him multiple local, regional and national honors. One standout series was his investigative look exposing cruelty to animals used in research to produce pharmaceuticals. He won a highly-coveted Sigma Delta Chi Award for his feature on the death of the family farm. And he received the National Epilepsy Foundation Distinguished Journalism Award for his work providing an unprecedented glimpse into the life of a teenage boy living with epilepsy.

Brad joined KHOU 11 News in March of 2006 and reported for us until March of this year. Prior to arriving in Houston, he worked for 16 years at KARE-TV, the Gannett owned NBC affiliate in Minneapolis-St. Paul, where many of his award winning reports were done.

Before starting his television career, Brad served as an officer in the United States Air Force where he briefly flew jets.

He was a native of Hayesville, North Carolina, a small town nestled in the scenic mountains of Appalachia. Throughout his life, he was never happier than when a story took him out into the countryside.

Brad received a BA in Journalism from the University of Georgia in 1984, with minors in Russian and Music. He was also a graduate of the Pushkin Institute for Russian Language in Moscow.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Brad s family, which includes his parents and his two sisters. They are sad and so are we.

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