My heartfelt thoughts and condolences are with former Providence Mayor Vincent "Buddy" Cianci's family and newly announced fiancee, Tara Marie Haywood. His unexpected death took me by surprise. In my mind, Buddy was a phenomenon! He was atypical and original. Sure, he was mayor of Providence for 21 years over two separate stints going back to 1975. He conquered Rhode Island politics, radio and television, too. In many respects, Buddy was larger than life and he held court wherever he went as a fellow Republican in a very blue state. But, the best memory I have of Buddy started in Providence.

I remember Celeste and I being honored at Johnson & Whales University's Diner Museum as recipients of the Walter Scott Award, and it was Buddy Cianci who presented us with it. That was where we first met. He was funny and animated. We got along fabulously! Our energy was simpatico, you might say. And when Buddy found out that I hosted a nationally syndicated breakfast show from the Shawmut Diner, he thought that was the greatest backdrop for a radio talk show! A year or two passed, when I got a call from Buddy asking to come on-the-air to promote his new "Mayor's Own Marinara Sauce" complete with his smiling face on the label. To tell you the truth, his sauce was, in a word, delizioso!

I was saddened to hear that while on the set taping his weekly show, ABC6 News On The Record with Buddy Cianci, he fell ill and was rushed to the hospital Wednesday evening and passed away Thursday morning, January 28.

Whether it was his tasty sauce on top of pasta or the renaissance of Providence, Buddy Cianci was unprecedented, unconventional and unparalleled. With a heartfelt, "Ciao", I am certain that Buddy's memory will live on for a long time.


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