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COVID-19: CBS News Producer, Talent Executive Dies After Being Hospitalized

Maria Mercader
Maria Mercader Photo Credit: LinkedIn

A CBS News producer and talent executive died from novel coronavirus (COVID-19) at the age of 54.

Maria Mercader, who has worked at CBS for nearly three decades in various positions, died on Sunday, March 29 in a New York City hospital, officials said. She had been in medical leave for an unrelated matter since late February prior to her hospitalization for COVID-19.

According to CBS, Mercader "fought cancer and related illnesses for more than 20 years, and was an inspiration each time she returned to work after a setback threatened to end her life.”

"Even more than her talents as a journalist, we will miss her indomitable spirit," Susan Zirinsky, CBS News president and senior executive producer said. "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.”

Mercader won an Emmy in 2004 for business and financial reporting on “CBS Sunday Morning” when she helped produce a piece on computer scams.

"A hard hit to the heart, news longtime colleague and friend Maria Mercader died from coronavirus," tweeted former CBS News anchor Dan Rather. "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”

CBS said that Mercader 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.

"The Maria we are privileged to call family and friend knew better than most the power of relationships, loyalty, faith, kindness, perseverance, and a smile, even when a smile defied the darkness of the moment," Ingrid Ciprian-Matthews, EVP of Strategic Professional Development at CBS News added. "Her notable professional contributions are part of the CBS Archives, but it is her magnificent human spirit that touched so many of us, that will stay with us forever.”

Mercader started at CBS News in 1987 in the CBS Page Program. She produced stories that included the death of Princess Diana and the 9/11 attacks.

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