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Longtime CBS journalist Maria Mercader dies from coronavirus at 54

 

Longtime CBS journalist Maria Mercader died Sunday from the coronavirus, CBS News announced

Mercader, 54, died in a New York hospital, according to CBS. She had been on medical leave for an unrelated matter since February.

"Even more than her talents as a journalist, we will miss her indomitable spirit," Susan Zirinsky, president and senior executive producer at CBS News, said in a tweet from "CBS Evening News." "Maria was part of all of our lives."

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Mercader had fought cancer and related illnesses for more than 20 years, according to CBS.

Mercader started at CBS News in 1987 as part of the CBS page program and throughout her career worked on the CBS News foreign and national desks. 

"Maria was a friend to all," said Laurie Orlando, senior vice president of talent at CBS News. "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."

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Journalists also tweeted in memory of their veteran colleague.

“A paragon of grit and grace, she embodied the best of the @CBSNews mission,” Dan Rather tweeted about Mercader. “Millions of Americans learned of the world through her efforts. Now our world is less with her loss. RIP.”

Manuel Bojorquez, a CBS News correspondent based in Miami, said Mercader was “as inspiring and lovely as any human being could be.”

“We would joke that I’d survived one type of cancer and she’d survived all the others. And now we’ve lost her to this hideous virus,” Bojorquez tweeted.