Longtime WJAR Reporter Jim Taricani has passed away according to his family.
Taricani, who investigated organized crime and public corruption through WJAR’s I-Team and endured numerous health challenges, including a heart transplant, died Friday at his North Kingstown home after a long illness.
Taricani was a local legend in Providence TV news.
He was respected by both mobsters and politicians and whose determination to protect a source’s identity which earned him national headlines when a federal judge’s sentence of six months of home confinement.
Before his retirement in 2014, Taricani had worked for the better part of three decades for WJAR, where he set the bar for excellence in investigative journalism, says Steve O’Donnell, the former head of the Rhode Island State Police, who knew Taricani both on a professional basis and then, in recent years, on a more personal level.
“Anyone in every walk of life who I meet, or who worked with Jim, respected him,” said O’Donnell. “That’s true even with the guys in the Cosa Nostra, the New England mafia. They respected him. He was in their face and he ran stories about them, but he never had an issue with them because he was honest and fair. They respected that.”
Taricani “cared very deeply about the business he was in,” said O’Donnell. “He decided to take a stand in his career that was admirable. I respected him because he believed in what he did.”
He was 69 years old.