Artie Williams III – RIP

 Artie Williams III

You know how it is when you get the feeling you need to give somebody a call?  It hit me about a week ago.  “Call Artie,” the voice in my head commanded.  It had been way too long since we talked.  I knew I should pick up the phone but I didn’t.   And now, I can’t.

I learned that my old friend and former colleague Artie Williams III was dead by reading Facebook.  It had been posted by the former Exec Producer at KABC, Jim Hattendorf.  His note said that there wasn’t much information available, just that Artie died of an unknown cause – an unknown medical emergency – while diving near Catalina Island.   Artie, loved to dive.  I remember him telling me about the water in Belize.  I remember him saying it was the clearest water a diver could hope for.

I first met Artie Williams in Baltimore.  It was in late 1979.  I had just gone to work for WMAR-TV.  So had Artie.  He got started by attending an art school.  From there, he transitioned into photography and tv news.  He had come in from Richmond at about the same time I came in from Pittsburgh. The World Series was on.  The Orioles were up against the Pirates.   For the next three years, we worked together, partied together and became friends.   I helped Artie study for his black belt in Tae Kwon Do while on our way to assignments.  He eventually became an instructor, but I never once saw him raise a hand against another human being in anger.  I did though, see  him stop a fight.  We were on our way to an assignment when Artie spotted two kids fighting in an alley.  It was a big kid on top of a little kid.  Artie pulled into the Alley, drove up to the fight, rolled down the window and said, “Hey! If you want to fight somebody, how about fighting me?”  The big kid looked up at Artie, got off the little kid, and the fight ended.

Later, Artie moved west for a job shooting video for KABC-TV.  A few months later, I followed in his footsteps, taking a reporting job at the same station.  Others moved west as well.  Michael Jones and Rawn Hairston.  All four of us left WMAR for KABC.  A producer, Bob Compton, left WMAR and came to Los Angeles to work for KNBC.   It led to jokes about the “Baltimore Mafia.”

Artie Williams III, was a good man.  He brought more to the party than he took away.   In the words of a mutual friend, “Artie, was the sweetest guy you can imagine.”  A strong but gentle presence with a positive attitude toward life, that was Artie.

KABC reports that today, Sunday, would have been Artie’s 60th birthday.  He is survived by his mother and three sisters.  He had plans for a trip back to Richmond to visit his family on Wednesday.  My condolences to his family.  I am so sorry I failed to make that call.


The following statement was released by the Los Angeles Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

The Greater Los Angeles chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists mourns the loss of veteran ABC 7 cameraman Artie Williams III, who died over the weekend while diving off of Catalina Island. Williams was described by his colleagues as a “real prince of a guy” with a huge heart. He was known for providing a helping hand to other photographers, reporters and interns. His was always a friendly face to see out in the field. “The journalism community in Los Angeles has lost a talented person who was a friend and mentor to many,” SPJ/LA President Alice Walton said . “SPJ/LA extends its condolences to Artie’s ABC7 colleagues and his family. He will be sorely missed.”


The Black Journalists Association of Southern California posted the following statement-

Los Angeles, CA – The Black Journalists Association of Southern California and NABJ joins the Los Angeles and national journalism community in mourning the untimely death of ABC7 Eyewitness News photojournalist Artie Williams III.

Williams was a beloved colleague and respected competitor. He also mentored countless aspiring broadcasters during his 30-plus year career at KABC. Artie, as he was widely known, quietly gave back to the community in a host of ways including his recent presentation to teen scholars at LA’s Urban Media Foundation.

Williams greeted everyone with kindness and compassion. He was often the man behind the camera and behind the wheel as admirers noted “there goes that news van again!”.

“Artie shot many of the press events that I was involved with. I was always struck by his passion and dedication to his craft,” says Earl Ofari Hutchinson, President, The Black Journalists Association of Southern California.

“He was a true consummate professional. And equally important, he was a tremendous role model for African-Americans in broadcast news.”

We express our sincere condolences to his family. But we are secure in the knowledge that the powerful legacy that Artie left, namely his passion for his craft and professionalism, will continue to be a solid model of achievement and success for future minority photojournalists to emulate.


A service for Artie Williams will be held at 11am on Tuesday, August 28th, at Grace Baptist Church, 22833 Copper Hill Drive in Santa Clarita.

Artie Williams - photo: kabc-tv

photo:kabc tv    


Rawn Hairston, Oprah and Artie, way back when.  

(photo courtesy of Rawn Hairston)

41 thoughts on “Artie Williams III – RIP”

  1. Artie was so passionate about scuba diving, he traveled all over the world trying out the best spots. I suppose in a way, it is fitting that he died doing what he loved best. He was a gentle giant, and I always enjoyed seeing him at various news events. He will be missed. I do hope there is a memorial for him and details are shared.

  2. Ron, thank you for the information, although it’s sad. Artie always had kind words and a smile for everyone. I just had lunch with Jon and Jeff two days ago, a way to reconnect which I hope to do with more people . I hope you and your wife are well.

  3. Saddened to hear the news of Artie’s death. I worked with him at KABC-TV in the 1980’s and ’90’s. He was a hardworking cameraman and an easygoing guy. I remember him talking about his passion for scuba diving. Artie touched a lot of lives.

  4. Ron: I ran into Artie just three weeks ago while on a bike ride in downtown LA. He was working with Miriam Hernandez at the County Courthouse. He greeted me so enthusiastically. I had seen him only once or twice since I retired two years ago. He talked of his next overseas diving trip. He died doing what he loved most. I will miss him, and always remember his quiet dignity and huge enthusiasm for others.

  5. Ron: Thanks for the beautiful tribute to my big brother, Artie. I learned a great deal from him. Anyone who knew, or met Artie was tocuhed by him in a wonderful way. AW3 was a self-less, gentle spirit with a solid foundation. He has a map in his home with multi-colored pins identifying all of the places around the world in which he had dived. AW3 always treated himself to a dive on his birthday, and I’m grateful he had one final opportunity to engage in his passion. One of the pioneers from our beloved “Baltimore Mafia” has moved on, and I will miss him immensely. Again, many thanks for the tribute to AW3, Ron.

  6. Ron,
    I was so saddened to hear about Artie. All I could think about was how excited he must have been at the thought of another beautiful day diving. I always will remember him as a man with a huge heart and quiet strength. No matter how bad your day, he always made it better with that great smile of his. I worked the LA-Baltimore connection opposite of you and Artie. After 8 years, I left KABC for WBAL in Baltimore in 1995. Every time Artie made a trip home to Richmond to visit his Mom, he would give me a call in Baltimore; as if he was just in the neighborhood and thought to say “hey”. I always reminded him Richmond is about four hours away and that the phone works just fine from LA too! Last call, he just laughed and promised to come up for a visit on his next trip. I’m sorry that won’t happen.
    I was glad to hear his last hours were spent doing what he loved the most; one last chance to celebrate a wonderful, happy life. May we all be so lucky.

  7. Hi Ron,

    Thanks for the tribute to Artie. I’m still reeling from the news along with the rest of us! I did have the opportunity to text him often…he was looking forward to his birthday dive and trip home to Richmond. What a swell guy…so beautiful and full of life. What a spirit…it is such a devastating loss for us all. Peace and love Artie….


  8. I also worked with Artie and Ron’s words of that call make me sad.
    I remember the good times of the Baltimore crew.
    Rest in peace knowing he died doing something he loved, that’s not so bad.


  9. Hi Ron,

    I’m Artie’s newphew, Tyvelle Williams, of Richmond, VA. I was shocked when I heard the news of my uncle passing away. I wanted to go out to LA in May to see him but didn’t get a chance too. I learned that he was suppose to come into town on Wednesday. Anytime he would come into town I would make sure that I would come up to see him. We would talk for hours just catching up on life. It’s funny to see alot of the comments on here because he reminds me of the stories he would share with me (Baltimore Mafia, old colleagues, his job, etc) He always mention scuba diving in Catalina Island. It’s good to know that he was well like and well respected. I just left from his mom home. His Richmond family was there for the most part, everyone seem to be holding together. He definitely died doing what he loved. He will definitely be missed.

  10. ron, ironically artie’s number popped up on my phone this morning and i thought the same thing. i need to ring artie. little did i know. i just had to tell one of his best friends who was out of town and he broke down on the phone. he was an extremely capable photojournalist and a very good and caring friend. i am so glad our paths crossed.

  11. Great tribute to Arnie, Ron. we worked together on the street from 78-81 and he was one great guy. WMAR alumni just lost Ted Holtzclaw from WABC last week…..Too odd of a coincidence. My best wishes to all who knew him and his family.

  12. hey Ron,thanks for writing this article for such a great person. I worked with you both in Baltimore and Artie & I hit it off as brothers from day one. He told me I needed to learn to edit and I said I fix the editors when you break them, but I learned to edit & have been doing it since.We had some of the most competitive one on one basketball games, (with him losing most of the time) but he wouldn’t leave until he won (such a sore loser). We just text last week about the death of Ted and he was saying we had to hookup when he came back east (since you never come to L.A.), so I was going to surprise him in Richmond. But I got the word from Sandra Gilbert while shooting soccer and had the wind knocked out of me. What a great friend Artie was to all that knew him, all over the country, he was rare and genuine nothing fake about him. My man loved the Lakers and was so happy you guys got Dwight Howard. He loved life and was so proud of his family and enjoyed coming back to see them but with Artie if you knew him he considered you his family. I’m blessed to have known the man Artie Williams… you will be and already are missed. Deepest heartfelt sympathy to Artie’s family and friends. What a great man.

  13. Artie and I met when we were students at Virginia Commomwealth Univetsity in Richmond, VA and he was dating one of my friends. We lost contact with each for years until I moved to LA and found out that Artie was also living here. It was great to reconnect and to find out that he was still the nice guy that I remembered from VCU and that he was doing so well. Artie was such a great friend to me and my husband. He joined a book club that we are in and was a great host when one of the meetings was at his home. Artie loved his mom so much and sisters and their children. He recently told me about how much he was looking forward to visiting them soon. It was my pleasure to meet his mom and one of his sisters on one of their visits to LA. I discovered that one of his nephews attended school with one of my nephews in Glen Allen, VA. Artie was a kind and gentle man whose thoughtfulness knew no bounds. We are blessed to have the warm memories of his friendship to sustain us through this very difficult time. Our prayers are with his family and all who knew and loved him. Rest in peace our Artie.

  14. Artie you will be missed.. My condolences go out to the family.. I will pray that they get through this difficult time.. This is so sad for all of us.. Dwayne Ivey

  15. Hi Ron,

    Thank you for your beautiful tribute. I got chills reading your message; I regret not picking up the phone a few weeks ago when I got a nagging feeling to call. Artie and I worked together in 1999 and I vividly remember a story we worked on honoring Rosa Parks. Artie was a mentor, I counted him as a friend. He loved diving, he even gave me a video of one of his diving trips! My prayers are with his family in Richmond and my KABC family in Los Angeles. May Artie Williams III, rest in peace. Truly heartbroken…

  16. Wow
    AW3 was truly my brother. Can’t find any words still feeling numb. I had the pleasure of introducing him to TaeKwonDo and we became one from white belt to black belt. A true black belt in every sense of the word. We will forever be joined with that bond. “CUTTY” that was our nickname for each other will always be in my mind, heart and prayers. Peace and Blessings to his FAMILY

  17. There are a few people we meet in life, that seem to stand our as shining stars of humanity, Artie certainly was that kind of man. As everyone has mentioned already, Artie had a gentle sweet spirit. It didn’t matter how much time had passed since I last saw him, he would always greet with a “Hey Deb how you been”, and then a hug. This is the way I will always remember Artie!

  18. Hello Ron and all that have contributed here. The 80’s and 90’s were a great time to be working News in LA. Earthquakes, Floods, Riots OJ we all got a chance to work with each other and forge new friendships. I first met Artie on Hollywood Blvd. I believe at another Walk of Fame unveiling when I was with Movietime, now E! From our first meeting till I left LA we would see each other on stories and always exchange pleasantries. Others have mentioned above that AW3 was a “Gentle Giant”, that he was. He was a really great presence in the field and a darn wonderful human being. Although I did not know Artie well enough to call on the phone or hang out with, I am saddened that I will never be able to shake his hand and ask “How you been”. Although he no longer walks among us physically, he still stands with us as a person who will be remembered as a really great person we worked with and spent quality time with out on the line. RIP Artie, you will be missed.

  19. Whenever someone dies, people always comment on how great they were. Often times, I wonder how much of it is true. In this case, I can say with certainty that everything I have read here about Artie is absolutely true. I knew “of” Artie long before we ever met. We had mutual friends in Baltimore where I live but it wasn’t until I moved to LA and he introduced himself to me while we were covering a story that we finally met. I was at a news/talk radio station and he said he approached me because the station didn’t have a lot of African-American street reporters at the time so he knew I was new. He welcomed me and offered to help me with anything I needed – even helping me find a church. We became instant friends and he was so helpful to me during the short time I lived in LA. Like a lot of people have commented, I recently thought about Artie when I was searching for a contact in my phone and his name and number appeared. Instead of calling him, I thought I would be hearing from him soon since he always called me when he was in Richmond and we’d promise to get together before he went back to LA. We only got together one of those times and that was years ago. What a loss. What a legacy.

  20. What a blow! Artie was a friend for well over 30 years close to 40. We met through a mutual friend Dwight Smith former anchor @WMAR,in Baltimore. i was interviewing there,and DES made sure we met. Over the years we always stayed in touch especially since we worked@east coast west coast operations of ABC.(me@wabc).I would always hear from him from our reporters @ the oscars, riots,west coast L.A. stories etc. Reporters would always tell me Artie says hi! I am deeply saddened that this great cameraman,and even better man has passed.My deepest condolences,and prayers are sincerely felt for his family,and colleagues and friends.. peace,Ron E. BELL rip

  21. Ron, I just got off the phone from reading your article/blog about Artie to his friend Eddie Pullium, who was a Navy Seal and in ‘Nam and who met Artie in the early days when Ed worked at the CBS network, and he said Artie taught him so much about the buddy system and not diving by yourself that his military training didn’t. Artie was such a people person. I guess he had friends, loved ones, people he cared about that he called on a regular basis, and if we can learn anything from his untimely death, it’s that we need to stay in touch. If we think about calling each other, call. No REGRETS, no GUILT, just CALL, and hold each other a little closer, and tell each other you love them, and forgive a bit easier. Artie would want it that way.

  22. Ron, thanks for the lovely words about Artie. I was saddened to hear the news of his untimely passing. I fondly remember Artie from my days as Mayor Riordan’s press secretary. He was the consummate professional, plus always joyful, patient and kind — a great role model for us all.

    May his heart-filled spirit live on in each of us who had the pleasure of meeting him.

  23. Hello everyone, My last contact with Artie was about two weeks ago. I was sitting in a airport waiting for my flight back to LA and I picked up my phone and made a call to Artie. We talked about everything from family, work, friends, and of course the Lakers. The last thing we said to each other was once work slowed down we would get together for lunch. Sadly, that will not happen now. AW3 was a amazing human being and a joy to hang out with. I can remember our dogfight basketball games that we played at a local gym many years ago. AW3 had a way of making you laugh and feel good about life. Artie, you truly will be missed.
    RIP AW3.

  24. When you work in the field, you get to know alot of people. In my twenty six and a half years of working the streets of Los Angeles, Artie stands out among the the best. Not only was he a professional at his job, he was a warm human being. Whenever we would run into each other, we always had a great conversation. I knew that he was an avid diver and he was very passionate about it. I last saw Artie a few weeks back at a story in Long Beach. We had not seen each other in a long time, but as soon as we saw each other, he reached out, shook my hand and gave me a big hug. I will always remember that big hug. RIP Artie.

  25. Artie! Hard to believe. Even as I shed a few tears at the news, I found myself smiling, thinking about working – and joking around – with Art. He was one of the Good Guys. I’ve lived in Europe for years, but we would catch up during my visits to L.A. It is of some comfort to know that lived life to the fullest right down to the last minute.
    Ron, I do hope that your blog and the various articles and comments about Artie will help his family to see how much he was appreciated by those of us who had the privilege of working and spending time with him. Arrivederci, Art.

  26. Hi Ron,

    I’m Artie’s sister Darlene Kiah. Artie was scheduled to stay with me when came home on tomorrow. So, as you can imagine, great dissapointment for us. Thanks so much for posting this article. Artie loved life, his family and friends. We appreciate all the outpouring of love, support and prayers. We knew Artie was special to us as a Son, Big Brother, Uncle, Cousin, Brother-in-Law, but I really had no idea the impact he had on others. To God be the Glory. Thanks again for sharing.
    Darlene Williams Kiah

  27. Wow, one of our home boys has stretched across the US and spread that somewhat southern love! I really have enjoyed all the posts. I saw Artie at our Northside Reunion 2 yrs ago. I am a friend of the family and had that connection as if Artie was my big brother, too! I had a dream on last Friday and called Darlene early Saturday morning, his sister…I was just checking to see if everyone was ok…she said yes and we commenced to do what we do after 6 mos to a year of not talking…we caught up with one another! I told her I couldn’t remember what my dream was about; but, I felt better knowing everyone was ok and we had connected…she told me of Artie coming home to visit on Wed and maybe going to DC and/or Baltimore to catch up with some other peeps (I’m sure Darlene and I had met a few when we went to visit him while living there)…So, Darlene and I said our good byes and I told her I would look forward to her call in a few days to discuss the impromptu gathering to celebrate Artie’s 60th! I got a call the next day and just knew that something was wrong, something I thought may have been about Mrs. Carrie, their mom…my stomach was starting to feel ill! To my surprise, it was Artie….RIP Artie…you lived a life for your family, friends and colleagues to be proud of! Well done, thy good and faithful servant!!

  28. My heartfelt condolences to Artie’s family. I thank God for the opportunity to have met Artie Williams III. He impacted my life in a very special way; he was a dear friend to me and mentor to my daughter (first year student at USC). Artie loved people immensely, and when we needed him he was always there under any circumstance. I spoke with Artie last week while filming on campus, though we didn’t have lunch – – I was able to wish my friend – – Happy Birthday. My daughter as vowed she will honor her mentor by earning an internship at ABC7 and her Communications degree from USC. RIP Artie… we are thankful for your love and support. You will forever live in our hearts. I would like to be contacted by his family regarding any services planned.

  29. Hello,
    Artie is my brother’s brother-in-law. My brother is married to Tray (Artie’s sister). My mother was just recently telling me how much I would enjoy Artie when we visited CA on a trip she and I planned for 2 weeks ago but was postponed. I am so saddened and sorry we missed that trip. My mother and brother loved Artie very much. My deepest condolences to Mrs. Williams, Daphine, Darlene, Artreyia and the rest of Artie’s family and friends.

  30. To the family and friends of Artie . . . I send prayers and words about a wonderful man who has touched so many people.

    I last saw Artie at this years Oscar Awards After-Party Gala in Beverly Hills. He was covering the Red-Carpet arrivals. I have run into Artie in the field in Los Angeles at television shoots for more than 12 years, especially during my days as a TV Reporter on the B.E.T. Network. I use to call him “Sampson” because he always looked so fit, and strong, and we use to have great laughs. He was a true professional and represented KABC with class and dignity. Artie had a spirit of gold. Im happy I got to know him, and share stories about the news business, and hear his story about his career. His congenial personality will truly be missed. May his soul rest in heavenly peace.

  31. It’s great to read all the wonderful thoughts and comments everyone has posted here about Artie. I’ve worked with and alongside several of the current Los Angeles and former news workers who’ve contributed to this thread. Others I know are members of Artie’s extended family or friends who I haven’t met. We all recognize the fact that lost a wonderful person last Saturday who touched many lives over and above our own.

    I was privileged to work with Artie for the past 30 years. He started working at KABC-TV in 1982 a little over a year after I became an employee there. He and I worked together many times over the years covering floods, fires, riots, presidential visits, Super Bowls, NBA Championships, World Series, Olympics, and a myriad of other less notable stories. Early mornings, late nights, rain, heat snow, tear gas it didn’t matter. He was always willing to do what it took to get the pictures on the air.

    I remember when Artie first arrived from Baltimore and he seemed somewhat star-struck covering the actors, actresses, and entertainers who make up the Hollywood scene. To my surprise, he quickly adapted, and in due time became somewhat of a celebrity in his own right amongst many of the athletes and newsmakers that have kept us employed through the years. Most of the athletes who spent any time playing for one of the L.A. area teams found themselves being interviewed in front of the lens on Artie’s camera. In a business where a photographer sometimes works with talented people with big egos, Artie could hold his own and coax the best out of them. He also was also a great mentor for interns who would be at the station for a few months as they were finishing up their studies and anxiously chomping at the bit for first jobs in television once they had their diploma in hand. I suspect a standup or two shot by Artie made it on to many a resume tape as these newbies fanned out throughout the nation.

    I feel lucky to have had my life touched by such a kind and caring individual who was truly bigger than life. All of us who knew him had our Artie moments that we treasure. Whether it was a concerned call or visit from him when one of us or a family member was ill, a holiday greeting or just seeing his beaming smile as we arrived for work and got our assignments for the day, it was all good. We had wonderful times together both on and off the clock. His infectious laugh and undying can-do attitude often brightened my days. Once he became your friend you had a friend for life. I always try to surround myself with positive people and attempt to run the other way whenever possible when I encounter those with a negative attitude. Artie was always a positive and he had a knack of inspiring the best out of others. In my 56 years of riding around on this planet, I’ve run into very few with the energy, enthusiasm and joy that Artie had.

  32. Ron, thanks for this! I love the old photo! I had no idea Artie worked with Oprah back in the day. He was my neighbor for 12 years and one of the first people I met when I moved into the Parkwood community. I’m a producer so we always lots to talk about on the media front. We are very shocked at his unexpected passing and he will be missed so much in our community. I hope to attend the services next Tuesday. Thanks for posting the info.

  33. Hey Ron….I’m glad we’ve had a reconnection, unfortunately through the loss of our brother Artie. Artie embraced me as a friend when I joined WMAR.We all went our separate ways…but never out of mind. I too took Martial Arts with Artie and diving class. Can I reach out to Jeff Byron and Rose Marie…..My heart aches!! I hope to see all of you and all of Artie’s new family in the West and my heart goes out to his immediate family!! RIP Artie

  34. Ron-
    Scott Garceau told me last night about Artie. I’m one of the few who didn’t make the trek west so I was with Artie for a short time. We both tried to adapt to TV as I had been on radio. He learned the ropes from veterans like George Foreman and George Stover. There wasn’t much scuba diving in those days.We were throwing snowballs and and battling blizzards in Baltimore.
    My TV career didn’t last long, but being around pros like Ron and Artie was a hilite.
    I’m proud to say I worked with a lot of great people. We share great memories.
    Ted Patterson

  35. Susan and I worked with Artie for several years at WMAR-TV in Baltimore, and my son and I even went to some of his martial arts competitions, which he always won, so I never argued with him on the job. Artie was always fun to work with as well as professional. I remember once he had to stop by his apartment to get something, and when we walked in it was so hot I mentioned that it was like a sauna. Artie said, “I hate cold weather. Some day I’m going to California.”
    We’re so glad he got there and was doing what he loved at the end.

  36. I first met Artie back in 1985 when I arrived in Los Angles and began reporting for KTTV. I used to see him in the field all the time and he was always so nice, so warm, so friendly and so supportive. I left full-time news in the mid 1990s and rarely ran into any of my former colleagues. Then one day in January 2010, while freelancing, I saw Artie at a press conference in the Valley. We hugged and laughed and tried to catch up as much as possible. We exchanged numbers and promised to keep in touch, but our lives became too busy although I kept meaning to call him. So I was particularly sad to hear about his passing. Artie left this world way too soon, but our memories of his kindness and friendship will live on forever.

  37. I am so Blessed to know the Williams family. I am close friends with his sister Daphine. When I met Artie he had the smile of an angel.

  38. Hi Ron
    My name is Patricia Simmons, from Chicago I have never met you but you knew my friend Billy Newsom Cameraman ABC here, when I moved there you called me and gave me Artie’s number that was 1985 that’s how long I’ve know Artie, he called me every other day just to say hello, he wanted to come to Chicago but I loved him and couldn’t let him come here. I talked to him when he came back from Virginia and I called him every year on his birthday, when I didn’t hear from him I tracked him down and I just found out and I can’t stop crying.

  39. It’s so. . .difficult to process, even after nearly 5 months. It’s selfish, but I noticed the Christmas card I didn’t get. I think about my friend quite often. I’ve never known anyone like Artie. He was an amazing, eye-opening human being and I miss my friend. Artie had so many talents and interests and unlike so many of us, he followed through. I think about the body of artwork he left behind and hope it will find a way to places where it will be revered. I pray for healing and comfort for all of us who feel the void of his passing.

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