Angelo Henderson, Pulitzer Prize Winner, Radio Personality and Minister, Dies

February 15, 2014, 3:17 PM by  Allan Lengel

Angelo B. Henderson


Update: Saturday, 5:40 p.m. --  WWJ reports that the Oakland County Medical Examiner's Office issued a finding  that Angelo Henderson died of natural causes.

Angelo Henderson, a colorful Detroit radio personality, Pulitzer prize winner and minister, has died, WXYZ reports. 

He died early Saturday at his Pontiac home, The Detroit News writes. 

Back in January, Henderson had surgery to repair a torn tendon in his knee after a fall. It is unclear if the surgery had anything to do with his death.

Henderson, 51, hosted a radio show each weekday morning on News Talk WCHB 1200 AM and 99.9 FM.

The native of Louisville graduated from the University of Kentucky with a journalism degree in 1985 and began his journalism career at the Lexington Herald-Leader, the Courier-Journal in his hometown and the St. Petersburg Times in Florida.

He also worked at The Detroit News and then went on to The Wall Street Journal Detroit bureau, where he rose to deputy bureau chief. While there, he won a 1999 Pulitzer prize for a story detailing the lives affected by an attempted drugstore robbery that ended in the robber’ s death. He's Henderson is the only African American reporter to win a Pulitzer Prize for the Journal.

He later returned to The Detroit News for a while before going on to be a minister and pursue a radio career.

Henderson was former two-term (National Association of Black Journalists) NABJ Parliamentarian and two-term NABJ chapter president.

He and Felecia Henderson, an assistant managing editor at The Detroit News, celebrated their 24th anniversary last October. Their son, Angelo Grand, is a sophomore at the University of Michigan-Dearborn and a 2012 graduate of Groves High in Beverly Hills.

After Henderson's fall and surgery, he went through physical  rehab. He had taken a leave from the radio show on WCHB.

On Feb. 11, he posted this on his Facebook page:

My radio brother Horace H.B. Sanders is HOLDING IT DOWN for me along with Martez. This crime report is so important. As I recoup and watch ALL newscasts, 85% of these you would never hear about. Ya'll be safe - I'm on lockdown in a leg brace and on crutches going from the couch to the Lazyboy chair and back. MISS YA'LL! Thanks for supporting MY RADIO BROTHER!! 

The news spread quickly on Facebook. Former colleagues and friends were shocked by the news.

Paula Yoo, a former colleague of Henderson's at The Detroit News, expressed sadness over the death. Yoo, a  children's book author and TV writer/producer living in Los Angeles, who formerly worked for People magazine, said in a message  to Deadline Detroit:

"I am so shocked and saddened by the news and wanted to pass on my deepest condolences. He was so nice to me at The News. The last time I saw him and Felecia was at a diversity journalism conference  around 1998. He was so kind and we had a great time catching up. One of his last words to me before I left was this joyous, 'I will continue to pray for you Paula,' a reference to what I wanted to do with my writing career.  I remember being so touched by his kind words."

Everett J. Mitchell, a close friend, former colleague and former managing editor of the Detroit News, said:

"Angelo was an outstanding journalist and an even a better husband, father and friend. He was indeed his brother's keeper. This was evident in the work he did and to all who knew personally and those who had come to know him in his work on the radio."

Later on Facebook he posted this:

"Heartbroken. I lost a big part of me today. My college roommate, fraternity brother and partner in many of life's journeys. He was there for my high and my lows, providing the constant unconditional love and that broad smile. Sending love and prayers to his wife Felecia and their son Grant."

Jim McFarlin, a friend a former colleague of Henderson's at the Detroit News, posted this on Facebook: 

"I can't stand this. I am too young -- hell, we are ALL too young -- to be losing good people and dear friends this frequently, this suddenly. Just two nights ago I was playing Family Feud online with Angelo B. Henderson. I would play the "Fast Money" round and he would finish it, or vice versa. I messaged him, "Sure am glad you suddenly have all this free time, Angelo! How's the leg?"

"Now, who cares. We want our Angelo back. I admired Angelo, I respected him, and I'm not ashamed to say I envied him: beautiful wife, a dynamic voice in the community, and what writer wouldn't want to forever be addressed as "Pulitzer Prize winner...?" Now that voice is stilled, and we are stunned, and less. I need to get on my knees now. I will miss you dearly, my friend. And not because I only need 67 points to win the big money."

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