Nick Saban released a statement on Tuesday following the death of longtime Tuscaloosa News columnist Cecil Hurt. Hurt was a mainstay on the Alabama beat for nearly 40 years, long before Saban’s arrival in 2007.

Saban spoke of Hurt’s professionalism and class demonstrated throughout his lengthy career, with Hurt having a front row seat for Saban’s accomplished legacy in Tuscaloosa over the better part of a decade and a half.

“Cecil Hurt was a good friend and one of the best sports writers I have ever had the privilege of working with, not just at Alabama, but at all of our coaching stops,” Saban said. “He was a man of integrity and a fair-minded journalist blessed with wit, wisdom and an ability to paint a picture with his words that few have possessed.”

Hurt died on Tuesday in Birmingham at the age of 62.