Denise D’Ascenzo, an 11-time Emmy-winning anchor for Hartford CBS affiliate WFSB, died in her her sleep in her Connecticut home on Saturday, according to the news station. She was 61.
“It was sudden and unexpected,” the station’s statement said. “The grief we are all feeling is immeasurable. We are devastated for her husband and daughter, who were her whole life.”
According to Eyewitness 3, her family believes she died of a massive heart attack.
D’Ascenzo had been with WFSB for 33 years, serving as co-anchor with colleague Dennis House for the past 25. House was holding back tears when he announced her passing on air.
“She was a sister I never had,” he said. “I was her brother that she never had. She was my TV wife and we were best friends and I will miss her dearly.”
Along with her Emmys, D’Ascenzo was a recipient of seven Associated Press awards and two Edward R. Murrow awards. Her career was honored Sunday by journalists and politicians across Connecticut.
“Denise D’Ascenzo epitomized competence, class, and integrity,” U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal said in a statement. “For more than 30 years, she guided Connecticut through tragedy and triumph. We will miss her huge heart, her boundless generosity, and her tireless grace. Connecticut has lost a television legend, invaluable voice, and a dear friend. My heart and thoughts are with her husband, daughter, and her Channel 3 family.”
Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont tweeted, “The news of Denise D’Ascenzo’s passing is incredibly saddening,” “She was a trusted name in journalism, and her work most certainly made an impact. My deepest condolences go to her family, friends, and colleagues at WFSB. She is undoubtedly a CT news legend.”