He was 59, according to the Albany, NY Times-Union.
O'Brien, who was born and raised in Albany, worked decades in radio and television and specialized in sports and news reporting. He joined WRGB CBS-TV6, which he joined in 1991 and rose to morning anchor in 1994.
Greg Floyd, a news anchor at WRGB who met O'Brien in 1982, said he had an on-air style that was unique because he came across not only as hard-nosed, but also caring.
"Ed was a newsman's newsman," Floyd said. "Tough as nails, old-school and cared about getting the story and getting it right. He lived for this business."
O'Brien was practically born into broadcasting. As a toddler, his family said, he would watch television while taking baths and mimic ABC sportscaster Jim McKay, one of his broadcasting heroes.
O'Brien made his first appearance on television as a child with Freddie Freihofer on WRGB's Breadtime Stories, and he debuted on the radio in 1970 at age 14 in a show on WOKO called "Teenagers in Country Music." He worked in radio during the 1970s with well-known personalities Don Weeks and Boom Boom Brannigan.
O'Brien reported sports on television for WTEN Ch.10. He covered the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, where he got to meet McKay, and over the years interviewed baseball great Reggie Jackson, NBA coach and Schenectady native Pat Riley and boxing champion Mike Tyson from Catskill.