Jackson died Friday at age 66, his family said. During rehabilitation from his stroke, he was diagnosed with laryngeal cancer. Surgeons had to remove his throat box, with cancer cells finally silencing his calming voice.
All of the NBC4 on-air team wore red, Jackson’s favorite color, as they talked about their friend and colleague on Monday. Evening anchor Colleen Marshall said Jackson had an excellent sense of humor and used to joke that she was a few months older than he was.
“He would say to people ‘This is Colleen, she used to walk me to school,'” Marshall said.
For anchors Kerry Charles and Cierra Johnson, Jackson was a mentor.
“Before I could drive, he gave me a style book,” Johnson said.
“He helped a lot of journalists through the years, no matter the background,” Charles said.
Many former colleagues and people he met during his time at NBC4 said he was an authentic person, being the same both on and off-camera.
“He was just so relatable, he was a man for the community as well as in the studio,” said former NBC4 anchor Cabot Rea. “We went through a lot of events — 9/11 — the events of the day, we were together through. That really bonds you a bit.”
Former Columbus Mayor Mike Coleman said he always answered when Jackson called.
“When you heard of Mike Jackson, people trusted his word, trusted his reporting and knew that if it was coming from his lips to my ear, it was right,” Coleman said.
When tragedy struck, even personal ones, he was vulnerable and reassuring. Jackson was open about his bout with Bell’s Palsy, a neurological disorder that causes weakness in the muscles on the face. After his cancer diagnosis, Jackson fought to the end.
“His voice gave a lot of Black men an opportunity to see that it’s okay to go to a physician, to talk about health issues,” John Gregory, co-founder of the African American Male Wellness Walk, said. “He was a true hero to our community, and to the African American community and representing black men.”