NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Connecticut’s popular Channel 8 meteorologist “Dr. Mel” Goldstein died Wednesday at the age of 66 after a long battle with cancer.
Goldstein, of East Haven, made his illness -- multiple myeloma -- public years ago in an effort to educate people and raise awareness about the disease. He retired last August, and also gave a “farewell forecast” in November over the WTNH television station where he became a popular TV personality known for his friendly, folksy style and sense of humor.
"We not only lost a great journalist today, but a great humanitarian and close friend," WTNH Vice President and General Manager Mark Higgins said Wednesday in an email to the WTNH News 8 staff.
“His love and enthusiasm for the weather and passing along his knowledge was apparent to anyone who met him,” Higgins said.
When Goldstein retired, he said: "I mainly want to be remembered as I am-- honest, helpful to others, always around when needed. I can't think of a better tribute than that, and it is something for which I will always be grateful. I have worked hard in an area that I truly love.”
Gov. Dannel Malloy Wednesday offered high praise for Goldstein.
"Dr. Mel was more than a meteorologist - with his charming character, warm smile and friendly personality, he became an icon in Connecticut and was loved by many," Gov. Dannel Malloy said in a statement. "He dedicated his working life to ensuring that the residents of Connecticut were prepared for whatever tumultuous weather system may approach, and for that we are forever thankful."
During a 2001 Channel 8 broadcast, Goldstein told viewers about his ongoing battle with the disease.
“Five years ago, I shared some personal news with you that has since defined my life. I often joke about not having had a vacation since high school, but that's about to change. Vacation, its being thrust upon me by a diagnosis of doctors saying I have multiple myeloma."
Goldstein explained to viewers that the disease attacks the bone marrow cells, breaks down bones, and affects the immune system, adding that “those diagnosed with the disease are given a life expectancy of just 33 months.”
But Goldstein lived far longer, though he told viewers that over the years he experienced “fractures in many of my vertebrae, and I've shrunk five inches because of the vertebrae collapse. But this isn't a story of pain. This is a story of hope,” he said, crediting the Yale Cancer Center as his “home away from home.”
U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut, said "Dr. Mel was a dear friend and great public servant, who made every day brighter regardless of the weather.
"He faced both life and death with profound and powerful grace, caring and courage,” said Blumenthal. “I will miss him as a friend and model of humanity and humor."
Goldstein’s media career began with a single radio station, and by 1976 his broadcasts were on dozens of radio stations nationwide. He then began doing television and in the 1980s, his forecasts were seen across the country on the Satellite News Channel, an all-news cable effort of ABC and Westinghouse.
He became the chief meteorologist at WTNH-TV in 1986.
Goldstein authored several books, including "The Complete Idiot's Guide To Weather," and "Dr. Mel's Connecticut Climate Book." The profits from that book are donated to cancer research. Goldstein also wrote a weekly column for the Hartford Courant’s Northeast Magazine for 20 years.
He is survived by his wife, Arlene, and daughters Laura and Melodie.
Goldstein’s funeral will be held 10:30 a.m. Friday at the Robert E. Shure Funeral Home on George Street in New Haven. He will be buried in Clinton.