Longtime Anchor Announces ALS Diagnosis

"We have to stop meeting this way," Larry Stogner told evening news viewers.

ByABC News
January 27, 2015, 1:56 PM

— -- Little did longtime news anchor Larry Stogner know that when he did the ALS ice bucket challenge last summer, he already had the disease in his body.

Stogner, an anchor on ABC's North Carolina station WTVD for 40 years, announced that he will be retiring and has been diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

"For nearly four decades, I've met you right here, usually at 6," Stogner began, addressing viewers. "Boy, we've seen a lot of change over those years. But, we have to stop meeting this way."

Before announcing the diagnosis, he drew attention to his voice.

"I am sure that in recent months, you've noticed a change in my voice, my speech [is] slower," he said. "Many of you were kind enough to email me ideas about what it might be, or just to show concern, and I truly appreciate that."

"As it turns out, I have ALS, Lou Gehrig's Disease," he added.

ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is a an incurable neurological disease that eventually causes the brain to stop communicating with the muscles. Those who have it eventually lose their ability to move and speak, and the condition is fatal. Some, like Stephen Hawking, are able to survive, in part, thanks to breathing mechanisms.

The ALS ice bucket challenge took the nation by storm as people challenged each other to either douse themselves with a bucket of ice water and share it on social media or donate to ALS research. Even the cast of "Good Morning America" got involved.

Stogner took the challenge, too, and said "little did I know it was about to change my life."

He said his career was over, and he was "blessed" to have had such a great job at WTVD. He will take a vacation and return to the air in two weeks to say goodbye to his viewers, he added.