The death of the 68-year-old Himmel from pancreatic cancer was announced Wednesday night during KFMB Channel 8's 11 p.m. broadcast. Himmel had worked for the news station since 1979.
He had been "quietly facing this disease for the last few years'' and wanted to keep working as long as he could, anchor Carlo Cecchetto said.
Himmel's son, Miles, tweeted this message about his father's death:
The Chicago-born Himmel worked in radio in Illinois before moving to San Diego and working in television.
Though he sometimes covered sports and weather for KFMB, Himmel was arguably best known for doing colorful segments about San Diego and its residents on a weeknight show called "San Diego at Large.''
His sense of humor prompted one television critic to nickname Himmel KFMB's "resident rascal.''
In a more somber moment, viewers watched Himmel's real-time reaction to seeing his Rancho Bernardo home being destroyed by the Witch Creek Fire in 2007. Himmel was already covering the wildfire when it ravaged his home.
Despite the severe personal loss, Himmel continued to report on the fire and his reporting earned him an Emmy Award in 2008.
Himmel was survived by his wife, Joan, and adult son, Miles.