In the early 1990s, he was diagnosed with leukemia. Gibbons died in February of 1994.
"I have memories, you know, just memories of my father. His love of Chicago and, ah, devotion to this city and to the people who lived in it. This neighborhood in particular," Sean Gibbons said.
Gibbons was the proud son of Irish immigrants and he carried their rock solid values with him for the rest of his life. "Back then, you have to understand, no one really knew you were poor because everybody was poor," Sean Gibbons said. Add humility, honesty, a good sense of humor and a fabulous gift of gab and Gibbons was a natural for making a living out of talking to people no matter their status in life. "He treated people fairly and I think that's an appropriate attribute to any reporter," Sean Gibbons said. So when this good, old-fashioned man passed away 20 years ago, the Leukemia Research Foundation began the Jim Gibbons 5 K Run and Walk in Jim's memory. So far the event has raised more than $1 million for research.
"I think he's thinking, 'Let's find a cure. Let's find a cure.' And I know he'd be tired of running because he wasn't a runner. And I think he'd be proud to be associated with such a great organization and I think he'd be saying, 'OK let's find a cure.'"