By David Carroll

dcarroll@wrcbtv.com

CHATTANOOGA (WRCB)- Longtime Chattanooga radio personality Jeff Cooper died Monday night in a local hospital.  Cooper, whose real name was Jeff Sanders, worked for WSKZ (KZ-106) and the affiliated stations of Citadel Broadcasting of Chattanooga since the mid-1980s.  He was 56 years old.

Friends say he suffered a massive heart attack on Christmas eve, and was unable to regain consciousness.

In addition to his on-air work, he was also a creative director for the radio stations, handling production, writing and voice work for commercial clients.

Fellow KZ-106 personality Kelly McCoy issued this statement on behalf of the station:

Jeff "Cooper" Sanders, longtime air personality on KZ106 and Creative Director of Citadel Broadcasting, died Monday December 27, 2010. It is impossible to put into words how many lives were touched by Jeff. His sense of humor was legendary as was his love of music. His faith in God was his touchstone and his love for his family and friends is a gift we will always treasure. He was a living example of redemption and the joy and peace that comes with it and lived it everyday in words and in actions. As much as he will be missed, he has reached the Ultimate 'Studio in the Sky'.

He was preceded in death by his mother, Mittie Sanders and father, Jim Sanders.

Survivors include his wife of eight years, Tamela Sise Sanders; son, Jeff "Little Coop" Sanders, brothers, Jimmy Sanders, Ronnie Sanders, and many nieces, nephews and friends.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 31, at Abba's House, 5208 Hixson Pike,  with Pastor Angie McGregor and friend Scott Chase officiating. Interment will follow at Hamilton Memorial Gardens Cemetery.

Visitation will be from 2-7 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 30, at Abba's House on Hixson Pike.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to The Jeff "Cooper" Sanders Memorial Fund. Mail your contributions to Jim Franklin, 821 Pineville Road, Chattanooga, Tn. 37405.

Please share your thoughts and memories at www.ChattanoogaNorthChapel.com.

Arrangements are made by Chattanooga Funeral Home Crematory and Florist, 5401 Hwy. 153.

A tribute to Jeff Cooper from his colleagues at KZ-106 can be found at http://www.kz106.com/Article.asp?id=2065840