Longtime and award-winning news anchor of CBS affiliate WFSB-TV, Denise D’Ascenzo, died suddenly at her home Saturday night, according to the television station. She was 61.
“The grief we are all feeling is immeasurable,” the station wrote on its website. “We are devastated for her husband and daughter who were her whole life. There are no words that could begin to summarize this loss for our WFSB family.”
D’Ascenzo anchored the television station’s evening newscasts. She joined the station in 1986 and became “a steady and reassuring presence on the anchor desk, covering all the major local and national news stories of the day.”
Throughout her career D’Ascenzo has won a total of 11 Emmys, including an Emmy for Best Anchor, two Edward R. Murrow awards, seven Associated Press awards and a national Gabriel Award.
WFSB anchor Dennis House announced D’Ascenzo’s death on-air Saturday night holding back tears.
“On a personal note, she was my sister, my TV wife, my best friend here and my co-anchor for 25 years,” he said.
House said D’Ascenzo was the longest serving anchor at WFSB-TV with 33 years.
“WFSB is like a family, and tonight our family is grieving” said WFSB-TV Vice President /General Manager Dana Neves. “Denise was like none other. She was a top-notch journalist and her long list of awards and accolades are proof of that. As good of a journalist as she was, she was an even better human being. She was a great listener and a gentle soul. She was a champion for those whose voices couldn’t be heard.
Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont offered his condolences to D’Ascenzo’s family and colleagues and described her as a “news legend.”
“She earned the distinction of being a trusted name in journalism, and her reporting most certainly made an impact,” he said in a statement. The work journalists provide is a vital public service, and through her career, Denise dedicated herself to the people of Connecticut. She is undoubtedly a Connecticut news legend.”
The cause of D’Ascenzo’s death was unknown.
WFSB reported that in 2013, D’Ascenzo was elected to the Silver Circle, a prestigious honor bestowed by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for significant contributions to broadcasting. Two years later, she became the first woman to be inducted into the Connecticut Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame.