The news industry is mourning the death of a veteran CBS News journalist who died as a result of the coronavirus.
Maria Mercader, who worked at CBS News for more than three decades, died at a New York hospital at age 54, according to CBS. She had previously fought cancer and had been on medical leave from the network for an unrelated matter since February.
"Even more than her talents as a journalist, we will miss her indomitable spirit," said Susan Zirinsky, CBS News president and senior executive producer. "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."
Throughout her career, Mercader covered major news events such as the 9/11 attacks and Princess Diana's death. In 2004, she won a Business Emmy for her work on CBS Sunday Morning.
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In recent years, she had taken on a role in talent development, Vladimir Duthiers, a CBS News and CBS This Morning correspondent, told BuzzFeed News.
"That role was tailor-made for Maria," he said, adding that Mercader was able to cultivate, train, and mentor young journalists.
"I've gotten dozen of messages from reporters at CBS News recalling how she worked diligently to get them to the network and how she continued working with them even long after they joined CBS," Duthiers said.
According to CBS, Mercader got her start at the network in 1987 through the CBS Page Program. In the nearly 30 years she spent there, she worked on the foreign and national desks. Her 2004 piece on computer spam won her a Business Emmy that year.
Mercader was also an active member of the Asian American Journalists Association.
"Maria was a dear mentor and friend to many AAJA members," the organization's Board of Directors said in a statement. "She was a proud 2004 graduate of AAJA’s Executive Leadership Program in Chicago. She will be greatly missed."
"Maria was a friend to all," Laurie Orlando, CBS News SVP of Talent, said in a statement. "It's nearly impossible to be someone EVERYONE loves, but Maria was. She always had a warm hug, a word of advice or support and a big smile for everyone in her life. She was a bright light and will be sorely missed."
Earlier this month, an audio technician for NBC News who had underlying health conditions also died as a result of the coronavirus.
Larry Edgeworth, 61, spent 25 years working for the network.
"Larry was a gentle bear of a man, the heart and soul of our extended NBC family," said Andrea Mitchell, NBC News' chief foreign affairs correspondent. "I was always cheered and reassured knowing he was on the team in the field. He always had my back whether here in the US or in the most dangerous situations around the world."
In a tribute posted to Instagram, NBC's Savannah Guthrie said she "adored Larry."
"We traveled together for two straight months on a campaign in 2008 and he was always the most warm, most professional, most loving. All hours of the day and night, no matter how hungry or tired or stressed we were - he was always a joy," she wrote.