Bill Gray, a pioneer in hurricane forecasting, died Saturday in Fort Collins, according to his longtime assistant. He was 86.

Phil Klotzbach says Gray began researching hurricanes in 1984, long before national hurricane forecasters began publishing their forecasts.

Klotzbach says Gray retired from his faculty post at Colorado State University in 2005, but he continued hurricane and climate research as a professor emeritus until his death. He was head of the university's Tropical Meteorology Project and won the Neil Frank Award of the National Hurricane Conference in 1995 for his research contributions.

Funeral arrangements are pending.