In the previous several decades, no journalist in Chicago has been more influential as Merri Dee. The legendary broadcaster worked at Chicago’s WGN-TV (Channel 9) from 1972 until 2008, first as an anchor and reporter and then as the station’s head of community relations.
Sadly, Merri passed away on March 16, 2022 at the age of 85, but her memory will live on long after she is buried. That being said, what ultimately resulted in Merri’s demise? Read on to find out what we know so far.
Merri Dee Cause of Death
On March 16, 2022, when she was sleeping in her own home, Merri unexpectedly passed suddenly, and her family confirmed the tragedy with a statement posted on her official website.
Following her death, a statement from her family read:
With great sadness, our family announces the loss of our beloved matriarch, the brightest light in our lives, Merri Dee, who died peacefully in her sleep at home. The statement further read: “As you can imagine our family is simply heartbroken and ask for privacy at this time.
WGN-TV, in addition to the Dee family, released a statement after Merri’s death commemorating the influence she made on the station and the city of Chicago through her career.
“From WGN staff announcer to hosting parade telecasts, telethons, and even the Illinois Lottery drawings, she was synonymous with WGN-TV. She was groundbreaking in the broadcasting field and an inspiration to several generations of young women,” they said, per ABC.
Merri Dee: A Trailblazer in Broadcasting
When Dee initially entered the media industry, she worked as a radio host for the Harvey, Illinois, station WBEE. After thereafter, she became the host of a Saturday night variety show on WCIU-TV (channel 26). WSNS (now Channel 44, owned and operated by Telemundo) hired Dee in 1971 to anchor a local chat show called The Merri Dee Show. In addition, she has been the anchor of the 4 station’s 10 o’clock newscast on WGN-TV since 1972.
Dee worked in several on-air capacities at WGN-TV for 11 years before transitioning to an off-air role as the station’s director of community development and manager of WGN-TV Children’s Charities in 1984. Prior to her retirement in the fall of 2008, she continued to serve as manager of WG-TV Children’s Charities. During her time at WGN-TV, she was instrumental in raising $31 million for the network’s charitable efforts.
After that, Dee became involved with the Chicago Mayor’s Advisory Council for Women and the Illinois AARP’s volunteer Executive Council, eventually becoming the organization’s State President a year later. Until her untimely demise in March of 2022, she was holding that role.
If you’re curious about the lives and deaths of renowned people, click on the links below:
- What Was Bobby Hull’s Cause of Death? A Look at Hull’s Controversies Away From the Ice
- What Was Garry Shandling’s Cause of Death? A Look at His Astonishing Career
Netizens Pay Tribute on Twitter
Merri Dee’s name was known to everyone as a popular journalist. People expressed their grief on Twitter when they heard about her death:
AndreHayesPR remember Dee:
— AndrewHayesPR (@AndrewHayesPR) June 7, 2023
Cheryl Burton gives tribute to Merri Dee:
Merri Dee was a pioneer personified!#Royalty💜🙏🏽
I stand on the shoulders of #MerriDee because she paved the way for me and every little black girl who was inspired by her extraordinary talent, grace, elegance and trailblazing legacy.
Rest in Honor and Glory Queen
Love you🙏🏾💜 pic.twitter.com/XPqF9GwIKa
— Cheryl Burton (@BurtonABC7) March 20, 2022
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