Veteran journalist Mark Haines, a fixture on CNBC for 22 years, died unexpectedly Tuesday evening. He was 65 years old.
Haines, founding anchor of CNBC's morning show "Squawk Box," was co-anchor of the network's "Squawk on the Street" program, providing insight and commentary sometimes humorous and occasionally acerbic.
CNBC President Mark Hoffman called Haines a "building block" of the financial network's programming. Hoffman said Haines died at his home.
"With his searing wit, profound insight and piercing interview style, he was a constant and trusted presence in business news for more than 20 years," Hoffman said in a statement to CNBC employees. "From the dotcom bubble to the tragic events of 9/11 to the depths of the financial crisis, Mark was always the unflappable pro.
"Mark loved CNBC and we loved him back. He will be deeply missed."
Haines may be best remembered for his calming and commanding presence during the 9/11 tragedy when he reacted unflappably to the furious stream of incoming rumor and even more astonishing truth with a professionalism that rivaled any television anchor, said CNBC senior economics reporter Steve Liesman.
Haines was well-known around the newsroom for giving his colleagues on-air nicknames. He was responsible for calling David Faber "The Brain," Joe Kernen "The Kahuna" and Steve Liesman "The Professor." If a colleague ever complained about it, he would respond, "What's worth more, your name or the nickname?"
He also often helped make his colleagues look good on air, saying, "Hey, when they look good, I look good, too."
Haines served as a news anchor for KYW-TV in Philadelphia, WABC-TV in New York, and WPRI-TV in Providence, before joining CNBC.
Haines held a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and was a member of the New Jersey State Bar. In 2000, he was named to Brill’s Content’s "Influence List."
His death quickly reverberated through the financial community.
Traders at the normally bustling New York Stock Exchange paused for a moment of silence.
"He worked his way into this community very well. When the news popped out this morning it swept across the floor in a manner usually reserved for some large geopolitical event that moves markets," said Art Cashin, director of floor operations for UBS. "Everybody was riveted."
Dave Lutz, managing director of trading at Stifel Nicolaus, emailed clients to remind them of the famous "Haines bottom," as dubbed by his former broadcast partner, Erin Burnett. Haines called the financial crisis market bottom on March 10, 2009, just a day after the market did, in fact, bottom before the 90 percent subsequent rally.
"Nice call, Mark. RIP," Lutz wrote.
Burnett shared an emotional goodbye with Haines when she left the network earlier this month (see video). She fondly remembered her first day on air with Haines when he implored producers to "give the girl something to do here."
"From him one of the most important things I learned was the generosity and graciousness he showed from that first day," Burnett said in an on-air phone interview. "He was very kind."
Haines was known for a lawyer-like determination to get at the truth, pressing guests for answers if they tried to avoid his pointed questions. CNBC reporters and anchors remembered Haines holding them up to the same standard.
"You're scared of him because you better bring your 'A' game, because he would not let you get away with anything. He's the best," said "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer.
On social networking site Twitter, word spread and hundreds of condolences poured in.
"If Mark Haines is interviewing God this morning, he's giving him the Devil," tweeted Dan Davison.
"RIP Mark Haines. I've been on CNBC with him once a month for over a year. Met him in person a few times. A very good guy. Will be missed," wrote Ryan Detrick, senior analyst at Schaeffer's Investment Research in Cincinnati.
"Someone asked what it was like working with Mark Haines. Truth? He did his thing. The best anyone at CNBC could do was let Mark be Mark," wrote Jonathan Wald, former senior vice president at CNBC and now at CNN.
The Haines family has asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Autism Speaks.