The WXYZ family is mourning after losing a friend and a key member of the sports team.
Longtime WXYZ sports producer Rei Janukaitis passed away late Wednesday night. He had been in an assisted living home since he suffered a stroke in 2016.
Affectionately known as Rei J, he was at WXYZ for over 26 years. Janukaitis worked as a sports producer for almost that entire time.
He produced over 8,000 live sportscasts and 600 programs. Rei won AP, MAB, and two Emmy awards. He was proud of the success with which he produced the Sports Update, WXYZ's weekly Sunday sports show. It was consistently No. 1 during the 12 years Rei was at the helm.
Rei J was a field producer at:
- Six Stanley Cup Finals
- Four NBA Finals
- Two Rose Bowls
- Super Bowl XL
- Ryder Cup
- U.S. Open
- PGA Championship
- Six Detroit Grand Prix races
He produced Lions GameDay Live for four years at WXYZ. The hour-long show was syndicated across the state of Michigan. earned four Emmy nominations, and captured one Emmy win. He worked alongside Don Shane, Dave LewAllen, Fred Heumann, Jay Berry, Tom Leyden, Vic Faust, David Solano, Brad Galli, Justin Rose, Kacie Hollins, and everyone who stepped through the sports department at 7.
Rei helped guide countless interns in his time in the business, and after joining WXYZ in 1988, he helped shape the lives of so many that came through Broadcast House.
We at WXYZ cherish our time with Rei J, and offer his family our sincere love and condolences.