‘To know him is to absolutely love him’: WLBT and Fox 40 News pays tribute to beloved anchor Mike Sands

WLBT and Fox 40 News pays tribute to beloved anchor Mike Sands

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - To know him was to absolutely love him.

Mike Sands came to Mississippi by way of Philadelphia and soon fell in love with the South.

His first job in television landed him in Greenville, Mississippi.

“You know Mississippi has been my home for a long time now," Mike said in a previous interview. "I moved to Mississippi as a kid, straight out of college at 22, living in the Mississippi Delta. Then I came to Jackson after that. I’ve spent over a 1/3 of my life in Mississippi and I’ve done it on TV telling the stories of Mississippians and I’m gonna miss that opportunity.”

It was in Greenville that he was first diagnosed with Cancer. A rare soft tissue cancer that he initially thought he’d beaten.

Mike’s next stop on the TV train landed him in Jackson, Mississippi, at WLBT and WDBD. Originally hired to do sports, Mike was soon tapped to anchor the newly expanded Fox 40 News at 9 newscast. Thus, the social media dubbed “Dynamic Duo” was born.

In its first year with Mike, Dave and Melissa at the helm, Fox 40 News was named best newscast by the Associated Press.

It was an honor that Mike didn’t take lightly, because he loved what he did.

Whether the camera was on or off, Mike Sands was the same guy.

He was funny, witty, likable, charismatic. He was a star.

He loved wrestling, sports, the Eagles and Game of Thrones. He did a weekly podcast, even if he had to do it via cell phone. He loved his TV family, his viewers, and the life that he’d created in Jackson.

But in 2016... cancer came back.

Mike didn’t shy away from it, instead he faced it head on and invited the Fox 40 viewers to help him along the way.

He endured debilitating surgeries and radical treatments, tumor removals, partial lung removal, chemo and radiation. But he never complained.

It was during this time that he also became a dad. Again, the will to fight grew stronger.

But so did the cancer.

“It’s been tough,” Mike said. “And it’s been tough knowing so many people want you to get better and you just can’t do it for them.”

In the spring of 2019, Mike decided to take a break from television and return home to Philly.

“But there’s people up there who would give an arm and a leg for me to be rid of this,” he said in the interview.

On Saturday evening, surrounded by family and friends, Mike Sands ended his battle with cancer.

“I just want to say thank you to those who supported me, who say that I inspired them, who said I was an inspiration to them. Thank you," Mike said.

Funeral arrangements for Mike Sands have been announced. If you want to send a card to the Sands Family, they can be reached at 8 Beverly Avenue, Malvern, Pennsylvania, 19355.

Copyright 2019 WLBT. All rights reserved.