BALTIMORE (WBFF/WJZ) — Broadcasting legend James Uhrin, known in Baltimore as “Traffic Jam Jimmy,” died of a heart attack Saturday morning, his family told FOX 45. He was 65.

Uhrin debuted on Baltimore-area TV screens as Mondy the Sea Monster on the “Captain Chesapeake” show. But in recent years, he took on the name “Traffic Jam Jimmy” as he guided drivers around the Baltimore beltway each morning. 

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Uhrin, who studied at an electronics school run by Sinclair Broadcast Group founder Julian Smith, got his start at FOX45 in 1976. Over the years, Uhrin took on many jobs at the station, including directing, editing, and recording commercials.

Uhrin moved to the news team in 2012, covering community events and helping drivers navigate the morning commute. Every holiday season, Uhrin dressed up as Santa Claus and delivered holiday cheer to sick children in Baltimore hospitals.

Uhrin began working for FOX 45 around the same time as Dwight Weems, director of corporate production, and Del Parks, the station’s president of technology. He was “one of the nicest guys that you would ever meet,” Weems said. 

Parks described Jimmy as “a true-blue friend that could always be counted on for his good humor and unselfish manner.” 

“I just spoke to him the other day about coming to our house for a visit,” Parks said. “I will miss him terribly.” 

Jimmy was a loyal, “wonderful, charismatic character,” FOX45’s Manager of Public Affairs Sharon Wylie said.

People who learned of Uhrin’s death on Saturday night took to Twitter to share their memories of him.

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Gov. Larry Hogan said he was devastated to learn that Urhin had died.

I last saw Jimmy about a month ago for our annual Maryland Day interview in front of the State House,” Hogan said. His trademark humor, irrepressible spirit, and love for Baltimore and our state will be dearly missed.

Harford County Executive Barry Glassman said he would miss the snow rides that he and Uhrin would go on together.

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski bid Uhrin, one of the good guys, farewell in a social media post.

Former mayoral candidate T.J. Smith recalled how excited he was for Uhrin to perform his sea monster duties on the “Captain Chesapeake” show.

“I was a crew member who couldn’t wait to turn on Captain Chesapeake and Mondy the Seamonster,” Smith said. “Many years later, in my various roles, I got to meet and befriend the man behind Mondy.”

WJZs reporters fondly recalled their encounters with Uhrin too. Ron Matz, host of Manic Monday, expressed his dismay at the news that Urhin had died, calling him one of the finest people he had ever met.

Traffic reporter Kristy Breslin said she was heartbroken over the loss of Urhin.

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Uhrin is survived by his wife, Marie, his three children Greg, Martin, and Jess, and six grandchildren.

CBS Baltimore Staff