Carte Blanche TV icon ‘Derek Watts’ passes away at 74 after battling cancer

In a somber turn of events, renowned journalist and veteran TV host Derek Watts has passed away at the age of 74 after a courageous battle with cancer on Tuesday morning, as his former co-host on “Carte Blanche,” Ruda Landman, confirmed his death on Tuesday morning, expressing her deep sadness and describing Watts as a consummate professional and a source of humor and inspiration.

Watts’ departure has left a palpable void in the media landscape, with Landman expressing profound sorrow over the loss of a colleague and friend with whom she shared many years of collaboration. She vividly remembered Watts as a consummate professional with an approachable demeanor and a knack for lighthearted humor.

Their joint journey on “Carte Blanche” during what Landman referred to as a “fantastic decade” in the nation’s history was marked by resilience and hope amid trying times. The show, which took its maiden voyage in 1988, showcased the compatibility of their diverse personalities that resonated deeply with viewers, forging a connection that extended straight to their hearts.

Watts’ health battles were a testament to his tenacity. Diagnosed with skin cancer last year, the ailment eventually extended its grasp to his lungs, leading him to make the difficult decision to step away from “Carte Blanche” in June. In an announcement to his dedicated viewers, he expressed gratitude for their unwavering support and promised a triumphant return once his health improved.

It is with profound sadness that we confirm the passing of Carte Blanche anchor and icon, Derek Watts. He passed away peacefully on Tuesday morning surrounded by loved ones. Our heartfelt condolences go out to his wife and children in this time of loss. He will forever hold a…

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— Carte Blanche (@carteblanchetv) August 22, 2023

His departure reverberated through the realm of journalism, prompting an outpouring of shock and heartfelt tributes on social media platforms, including Twitter. Colleagues, fellow journalists, and the show’s team collectively acknowledged the indelible mark Watts left on their profession.

Watts’ medical journey was not without its hurdles. Earlier this year, he faced a health scare that landed him in the intensive care unit following a suspected stroke. Through it all, his resilience shone as he navigated the challenges of severe sepsis and a subsequent recovery process, learning to walk again.

Morning! Looks scary but collapsed with suspected stroke in Hoedspruit 14 days ago and despatched to super pro Mill Park Hospital ICU. Diagnosed severe Sepsis which destroyed the bod in an hour! So learning to walk again. But back on your #carteblanche screen asap! @MNet @DStv

— Derek Watts (@DerekWatts) April 2, 2023

A gentle giant has left us. Rest In Peace Derek Watts. Thank you for the way you led your life and your incredible journalism. Thank you for being brave and kind. And thank you for always believing that things should be better. You blessed us all.

— Karyn Maughan (@karynmaughan) August 22, 2023

Derek Watts is survived by his wife Belinda and their children, Tyrone and Kirstin. His passing was confirmed by “Carte Blanche,” where he had become a linchpin over the years. In a heartfelt statement, the show’s executive producer, John Webb, praised Watts for his integral role in shaping the show’s identity and ethos. Watts’ legacy extended beyond his journalistic prowess, as he was remembered for his kindness and decency that touched the lives of those who knew him.

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M-Net, the channel that hosted “Carte Blanche,” also extended condolences to Watts’ family, highlighting his dedication to investigative journalism and his unwavering commitment to his craft.

The realm of media and beyond mourns the loss of a true stalwart. Colleague and fellow presenter Bongani Bingwa encapsulated the sentiment with his tribute, recounting Watts’ kindness and the powerful impact he left on everyone he interacted with.

As the news of Derek Watts’ passing reverberates, the legacy of a seasoned journalist, a loving family man, and a beacon of professionalism will continue to inspire and resonate with all those who were fortunate enough to have been touched by his presence.

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