Boone died Sunday, Sept. 3, at the age of 48 due to cancer-related complications, the station announced Tuesday, Sept. 5.
“For 21 years, Ruschell was a member of our staff, as well as a friend and mentor to many.”
A native of Kingston, Jamaica, Boone immigrated to the Bronx with her family when she was 11 years old.
The Emmy award-winning journalist joined NY1 in 2002 as a Queens reporter after discovering a passion for journalism while pursuing an accounting degree at Baruch College in Manhattan.
It was there where a counselor nearly talked her out of a reporting career, telling the aspiring journalist that she didn't "fit the mold" of a TV reporter, Boone told Amsterdam News.
"In that awful moment, it really set me up for life in this business. That was the first time I really realized how harsh people can be," she told the outlet.
"I think it really motivated me, when she did that I turned around and said ‘You know what? I’m just going to do this on my own.’"
During her career at NY1, Boone covered neighborhood controversies and police misconduct cases, as well as the events of Hurricane Sandy.
"Ruschell was all over Queens, pounding the pavement and following up, no story too big or too small," the station said.
She also covered the 2016 pressure cooker bombing in Manhattan and that year’s presidential election, and was with New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez when the then-candidate found out she had won her seat live on television.
Throughout her career, Boone received numerous industry awards, including Best Spot News Reporting from the New York Association of Black Journalists, a New York Press Club Award for Best Feature Reporting, and a New York Emmy Award for her series “New York: Unfiltered.”
“Ruschell had a unique ability to connect with New Yorkers — through the screen and in person — in a way that made her feel like a trusted friend,” NY1 management said.
In July 2022, Boone revealed that she had been diagnosed with early-stage pancreatic cancer, a battle with which she was open about, providing viewers and social media followers regular updates along the way.
“Unfortunately, my cancer has metastasized in my liver and I am back in treatment,” she announced on Facebook in late July 2023, months after returning to the anchor desk.
“It’s been rough, but the chemo is working. Please continue to pray for me. Those prayers have carried me through some really difficult moments. I feel the love and I appreciate it. Thank you for always rooting for me.”
News of her death sparked an outpouring of tributes online, including from some big names in New York politics.
“Ruschell Boone was a legendary journalist who left an indelible impact on NYC,” said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortes. A major loss for NYC. She will be deeply missed.”
Gov. Kathy Hochul also paid tribute, saying that Boone was “a tenacious journalist, a voice for the voiceless, and embodied the spirit of New York City.”
Boone is survived by her husband of 18 years Todd, a former production technician at NY1, and their two sons.
“A mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a journalist, a Jamaican-American, a true New Yorker," the station said. "Ruschell leaves behind a rich and loving legacy for her family, her friends and her city."
Funeral services for Boone had not been made public as of Tuesday.
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