The Alabama TV anchor who broke news of the infamous 2016 “tarmac meeting” between former President Bill Clinton and then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch died Saturday in an apparent suicide, according to reports and his employer.
Christopher Sign, 45, was found dead by Hoover, Ala., police around 8:13 a.m. Saturday after cops received a call of “a person down” at his Scout Trace home, according to Al.com. The former college football player’s death is being investigated as a suicide, Hoover Lt. Keith Czeskleba said, according to the outlet.
“Chris was a tremendous leader in our newsroom,” wrote ABC 33/40, Sign’s outlet, in a Saturday tribute to the reporter.
“He worked with our reporting staff on a daily basis, but also worked behind the scenes with the I-Team and with news managers on coverage of major events,” the obituary continued. “You were very likely to get an email from him with a story idea in the middle of the night. He was passionate about journalism and showed it each and every day as he pushed himself and his colleagues to be the best.”
Sign had three sons with his wife, Laura, whom he met at the University of Alabama in the 1990s, where he manned the offensive line for the school’s football squad and she starred as an All-SEC volleyball player, according to the local ABC affiliate.
Sign’s Instagram account told the story of a devoted dad, with photos showing him spending quality time with his family as recently as last week.
Jamie Hale, the network’s sports anchor, tweeted the sad story with a message of grief.
“I can’t believe we have an article with this title,” she wrote Saturday. “It doesn’t feel real. We were in the office together last night cutting up like we always do.
“I don’t understand why,” Hale continued. “I can’t talk about you in the past tense. The grief today is unbearable.”
Eric Land, the vice president and general manager of ABC 33/40, issued a statement echoing the heartbreak.
“Our deepest sympathy is shared with Christopher’s loving family and close friends,” he said.
“We have lost a revered colleague who’s indelible imprint will serve forever as a hallmark of decency, honesty and journalist integrity,” Land added. “We can only hope to carry on his legacy. May his memory be for blessing.”
The Dallas-area native headed to Alabama in 2017 to anchor the ABC station’s evening news show, after working for a TV station in Phoenix.
While there, Sign broke the major 2016 presidential campaign news that Bill Clinton met with Lynch on the tarmac of Phoenix’s Sky Harbor Airport while the then-AG was investigating the use of a private email server by Hillary Clinton, the former president’s wife and the Democratic presidential candidate at the time.
Sign went on to write a book about the encounter titled “Secret on the Tarmac.”
“We knew something had occurred that was a bit unusual,” Sign told “Fox & Friends” in February 2020, ahead of the book’s release. “It was a planned meeting. It was not a coincidence.”
Sign went on to tell Fox that the investigation made his life a living hell, with his family receiving death threats.
“My family received significant death threats shortly after breaking this story,” he said. “Credit cards hacked. You know, my children, we have code words. We have secret code words that they know what to do.”