CBS mourns longtime journalist Maria Mercader, who died at 54 from coronavirus

CBS News is mourning Maria Mercader, a longtime journalist with the news outlet who died in a New York hospital at 54 after battling coronavirus.

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 battled cancer and “related illnesses” for more than 20 years and had been on medical leave “for an unrelated matter” since the end of February, CBS added.

She 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.”