Former Seattle City Councilmember Jim Compton, who was better known for his long career as a prominent Seattle television journalist, was found dead in his car this morning, said his wife, Carol Arnold.
Compton, 72, apparently died of a heart attack or other natural causes after returning from a dinner with friends Monday night, Arnold said. “He died very suddenly,” she said. The couple had planned to leave for a trip to Rome Wednesday. His death also was confirmed by the King County Medical Examiner’s Office, which said the cause had not yet been determined.
Compton was a well-known TV journalist who worked for NBC News, including stints in London and Egypt. He joined KING 5 in Seattle in 1984 and worked as commentator, host and producer until 1997. His work included hosting the popular public-affairs show “The Compton Report.”
He was elected to the Seattle City Council in 1999 and reelected in 2003. He resigned from the council in 2006 to pursue other interests.
“It’s a tragic day all around for Seattle news,” said Cathy Allen, a political consultant and friend of Compton. “People still remember the glory days of Seattle’s media, including his time at KING 5.”
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray said he was saddened to hear of Compton’s death.
“As a long-term journalist and host of a popular public affairs television program and later as a City Councilmember and public safety champion, Jim was a Seattle civic institution,” Murray said in a written statement. “He was also a personal friend of mine, and someone I very much respected. He leaves a legacy behind, and I – along with many, many others – will miss him greatly.”