CBS News is mourning the loss of Maria Mercader, a network veteran who covered breaking news for nearly three decades and, most recently, helped shape strategy for the network’s correspondents and reporters.
Maria was 54 and died from the Covid-19 coronavirus in a New York hospital. She had been on medical leave for an unrelated matter since the last week in February.
Maria 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,” 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.”
Maria 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,” said Ingrid Ciprian-Matthews, EVP of Strategic Professional Development, CBS News. “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.”
“Maria was a friend to all,” said Laurie Orlando, CBS News SVP of Talent. “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.”
Maria was almost a force of nature, a born fighter. And yes: she was a “bright light” in an often dark and brutal business. The last time I saw her was at the wake for her mother. Maria had endured so much over her young life, and this was one more heartache. But she never gave up and never gave in. I know she was sustained by her Catholic faith — and by the prayers of so many who loved her.
The world was warmer with her in it, and journalism was more humane, too. What a loss.
God love you, Maria. Pray for us as we pray for you.
Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her …