NBC News Affiliate Anchor Dies Suddenly at 42 during Family Vacation

Local NBC News affiliate anchor Lesley Swick Van Ness has died suddenly at just 42 years old, her family has announced.

The news reporter passed away unexpectedly while vacationing with her husband, Tom, and two young sons in Naples, Florida.

Van Ness, who worked as an anchor for WGEM-TV as well as an executive for its corporate parent, Gray Television, was pronounced dead on Monday.

Gray Television executive Jennifer Dale said in a statement that Van Ness suddenly “fell ill and was hospitalized last Thursday” while vacationing.

“It is with a very heavy heart that we share some devastating news with you,” Dale said.

“Lesley Van Ness, who we have been so fortunate to have as part of the Gray family, passed away this (Monday) morning.

“Lesley had been on vacation with her beautiful family in Florida when she fell ill and was hospitalized last Thursday.

“Lesley and her husband Tom have two precious young boys.

“Please keep all of them in your prayers.

“We will keep everyone posted on arrangements.”

“In the eyes of a small community, she was a celebrity,” Tom and Neat Brower wrote in response to an online obituary.

Van Ness’ colleagues remembered her as a force to be reckoned with.

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Former WGEM-TV colleague Matt Schmidt called her a “powerful personality” and a “commanding presence,” according to WGEM-TV.

“She was a powerful personality. She could walk into the newsroom and instantly take over,” Schmidt said.

“She just had a commanding presence about her. Sitting on the news desk was an awesome experience.

“She wasn’t afraid to do the dirty work and wasn’t afraid to work the extra hour, especially if it was something that was really impacting the community,” WGEM meteorologist Brian Inman said.

Her funeral will be held in Naples, Florida, on Monday at St. John’s Anglican Parish, according to her obituary.

No cause of death has been revealed.

READ MORE: ‘The Wire’ Actor Lance Reddick’s Cause of Sudden Death Disputed by Family Lawyer

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By Frank Bergman

Frank Bergman is a political/economic journalist living on the east coast. Aside from news reporting, Bergman also conducts interviews with researchers and material experts and investigates influential individuals and organizations in the sociopolitical world.

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