Meteorologist Jim Reif died late Monday night in a hospital in Fort Myers, Fl., after he was involved in a bicycle accident on Sunday afternoon. He was 61.
Reif, who was the Director of Meteorology at NBC2, hit a crosswalk sign with his handlebars while he was on his bicycle riding on a sidewalk Ben Hill Griffin Parkway on Sunday, according to Lee County deputies. Reif, a resident of Estero, was thrown to the ground in the accident, and hit his head on the curb. He was not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident. He suffered traumatic injuries to the head. The cause of the accident is unclear.
The accident occurred less than a mile away from the nearest fire station, and emergency personnel were able to respond on the scene within minutes.
Reif had recently become engaged to his girlfriend, Jane Hess.
Hess said Reif may have suffered some kind of seizure or aneurism before losing control of his bike, according to the Marco Eagle.
The popular meteorologist was a fixture in Southwest Florida television for more than 35 years. He started his career in 1979 in Fort Myers and quickly earned a reputation as a hurricane specialist. He joined Waterman Broadcasting in 1999 as the Chief Meteorologist for ABC7, and recently moved to NBC2 as the Director of Meteorology for the company’s television stations.
Reif’s death led to an outpouring of condolences on social media sites.
— Sarah J. Hollenbeck (@SarahHollenbeck) April 8, 2014
— Nick Ciletti (@NickCiletti) April 8, 2014
— Morgan Palmer (@MorganPalmer) April 8, 2014
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