CBS longtime journalist Maria Mercader has died in a New York hospital at 54 after battling coronavirus, the news outlet announced Sunday.
In a news release shared Sunday afternoon, CBS remembered Mercader as a “network veteran who covered breaking news for nearly three decades and, most recently, helped shape strategy for the network’s correspondents and reporters.”
Mercader began working with the network’s news division as part of the page program in 1987, the year she graduated from College of New Rochelle, and went on to produce major stories for CBS News’ foreign and national desks.
Most recently, she had been working as director of talent strategy and was “active in coordinating CBS News participation in the Asian American Journalists Association, the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association and the National Association of Black Journalists,” according to CBS.
“Even more than her talents as a journalist, we will miss her indomitable spirit,” said CBS News president and senior executive producer Susan Zirinsky. “Maria was part of all of our lives. Even when she was hospitalized – and she knew something was going on at CBS, she would call with counsel, encouragement, and would say ‘you can do this.’ I called Maria a ‘warrior,’ she was. Maria was a gift we cherished.”
Many in the news industry who worked with Mercader paid tribute to her on social media.
Longtime CBS anchor Dan Rather called the news a “hard hit to the heart.”
“A paragon of grit and grace, she embodied the best of the @CBSNews mission,” he tweeted. “Millions of Americans learned of the world through her efforts. Now our world is less with her loss. RIP”
A hard hit to the heart, news longtime colleague and friend Maria Mercader died from coronavirus. A paragon of grit and grace, she embodied the best of the @CBSNews mission. Millions of Americans learned of the world through her efforts. Now our world is less with her loss. RIP
— Dan Rather (@DanRather) March 29, 2020
R.I.P, dear friend.