Renowned international war correspondent and pioneering journalist Anne Garrels has passed away, her family confirmed to NBC Connecticut.
A Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame inductee, Garrels' incredible career took her to the front lines around the globe for NBC News, ABC News and NPR, blazing a path for women in broadcasting while shining a light on some of the world’s most pressing conflicts.
After decades spent in Russia and the former Soviet Union, Garrels launched an international non-governmental organization this past spring to send high end medical and military equipment to Ukraine and open a sanctuary for orphans of the war, spearheading the effort from her quiet home in Norfolk.
Get Connecticut local news, weather forecasts and entertainment stories to your inbox. Sign up for NBC Connecticut newsletters.
She longed to be on the frontlines once again, but the cancer forced her to remain stateside. In what was one of her last appearances in front of a TV camera, at times struggling to catch her breath, Garrels said she was making the most of whatever time she had left by doing whatever she could to help.
“It came back again in April, the lung cancer,” she said in May. “I couldn't go through radiation again, because of where the tumor is. It's too close to my aorta. And chemo almost killed me last time.”
“I just said, 'No way. My husband's dead. I don't have children. I'm not going to jump through hoops.' I did do a treatment called cryoablation in August, where they put needles in your back and freeze the tumor and it worked. It reduced it considerably, but it sent me into the worst pain imaginable for three months, and despair.”
So instead, she faced down death with the same bravery and dogged determination that sent her to the frontlines in a flak jacket to be a witness to history. And she made a tangible difference for so many lives suddenly upended, trapped in a warzone.
Photos: Witness To History: War Correspondent Helps Ukraine from CT
Garrels died at the age of 71.