Jim O'Connell had worked at specialty channel Business News Network since 1999. ((Courtesy BNN))

Jim O'Connell, a veteran journalist and anchor at the Business News Network, has died of colon cancer. He was 48.

O'Connell was one of the original on-air staff at BNN (formerly ROBTv) when it went on the airin 1999.

Most recently, he had been the host of itsflagship Market Call program — a lunchtime phone-in showin whichguest market analysts took questions about stocks.

O'Connell's career in television began more than two decades ago. He had reported at several CTV stations in Canada, was CTV's bureau chief in Washington and London, and worked for a time as one of the hosts and correspondents for CTV's W-FIVE.

"Jim was one of the country's finest and most respected journalists," Jack Fleischmann, BNN's general manager, said in a statement.

"Above all, he had a special place in his heart for his audience and will be missed by thousands of Canadians who have come to trust and depend on his judgment. For all of us who worked with Jim he was more than a colleague— he was a friend."

O'Connell was an accomplished marathon runner and had competedon five continents.

He wasdiagnosed with colon cancer in February. He leaves his wife of six months, Lisa Ramshaw,son Daniel, 18,and stepson Aaron, 25.