Former CNN correspondent, radio host Mike Brooks, 66, has died

He previously worked in law enforcement in D.C. and with Delta Air Lines.

Former law enforcement officer, CNN security expert and radio host Mike Brooks died suddenly Wednesday.

His longtime girlfriend Clarice Sells confirmed with The Atlanta Journal Constitution that Brooks, 66, passed in his sleep but did not yet know the cause of death. Funeral arrangements are forthcoming.

Brooks, whose father and grandfather were cops, worked over the years as a Washington, D.C., police officer and detective, providing supplemental protection for the U.S. president. On his Facebook page, his lead photo is of former President Ronald Reagan greeting him. He was also a firefighter in Virginia and a security expert for Delta Air Lines.

He helped with the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force after 9/11 and traveled overseas. He consulted on the 2007 Jamie Foxx film “Kingdom.”

Brooks later worked as a CNN correspondent and made regular appearances on Nancy Grace’s HLN show in the 2000s and early 2010s.

“He befriended me at HLN,” said Grace in a text Thursday. “He was so great on air. He guest hosted on a regular basis. He was traveling back and forth to take care of his mom. I know this is a horrible shock for her and for all of us.”

Vinnie Politan worked with Brooks at Court TV, HLN and 11Alive. He said Brooks would text him frequently about stories, providing him tips and advice, often unprompted. His most recent text to Politan was just three days ago.

“I’m a lawyer and former prosecutor,” Politan said. “Mike understood policing and what a police officer is thinking and what issues they face, I learned so much from being with him and talking with him on and off the air.”

Politan noted that Brooks was 6 feet, 8 inches tall. “He steps into a room, you notice him,” he said.

His life was truly an adventure, Politan said: “It was tough to introduce him as a guest. You could spend 10 minutes of the segment going through his credentials. He did all these amazing things in his life and he’d use that to explain any situation on the fly.”

He recalled a situation involving a scuba search dive and Brooks saying, “Oh, I’ve done that.”

“I’d say, ‘What have you not done?’,” Politan said.

Brooks joined news/talk station 106.7 a few years ago and eventually got his own show.

“He was very pro law enforcement,” said radio friend Pete Davis, who also worked at what became Talk 106.7, which was sold by Atlanta Cumulus Media in 2019 to another company which changed it to a music format. “He liked to say that he wanted to do good. Hate systems but don’t hate people.”

Brett Barney, a former producer at 106.7, said Brooks was fun and easy to talk to. “He was always the loudest in the room but also had the biggest heart. He was extremely kind. He was always giving people free stuff,” Barney said. “I met my wife through him. He was going to officiate my wedding, but his mom got sick.”

Chad Potier, who was Brooks’ producer at 106.7, said they frequently shared cigars together. “He was the genuine article, a true hero,” Potier said. “I just loved sitting around listening to his stories.”

He had just called Brooks Wednesday to put together a demo and see if they could resurrect a radio show for Brooks. “This news just blew me away,” he said.

Over the past year, Brooks had been doing a podcast with comic Jim Gossett.

Brooks is survived by his mother Margaret Brooks.