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CBS News’ Maria Mercader Dies at 54 from COVID-19

CBS News veteran Maria Mercader 54, died Sunday of the Coronavirus, the network said Sunday.

Mercader, a producer who helped shape strategy for the network’s correspondents and reporters, died in a New York hospital. She has fought cancer and related illnesses for 20 years and was on medical leave for an unrelated matter since late February.

See CBS News' report on Maria Mercader

"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."

Related: NBC News Staffer Dies of Coronavirus

Mercader started at CBS News in 1987 as part of the page program. She worked for the CBS News foreign and national desks, helping to produce big stories including the death of Princess Diana and the 9//11 attacks.

She won a Business Emmy in 2004 for a CBS Sunday Morning report on computer spam.

"Maria was one of the bravest, funniest, and most supportive colleagues most of us have ever known. She was a woman of strong faith with a clear sense of right and wrong," said Al Ortiz, CBS News VP of Standards and Practices.

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," said Ingrid Ciprian-Matthews, executive VP of strategic professional development at, 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."