Longtime Connecticut news anchor, Denise D'Ascenzo has died, according to WFSB-TV.
"Denise was like no other. She was a top-notch journalist and her long list of awards and accolades are proof of that," WFSB-TV Vice President and General Manager Dana Neves said in a statement.
Her co-anchor, Dennis House, came on the air Saturday night to report D'Ascenzo had died suddenly earlier in the day.
"It was a sudden and unexpected death, and the grief we are all feeling is immeasurable," House said while fighting back tears. "We are devastated for her husband and daughter, who were really her whole life."
D'Ascenzo joined WFSB in 1986 and was the station's longest-serving anchor, House said. She was elected to the Silver Circle, a prestigious honor bestowed by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for significant contributions to broadcasting, according to WFSB-TV.
D'Ascenzo was the first woman inducted into the Connecticut Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame. She was the recipient of two Edward R. Murrow awards, seven Associated Press awards and a national Gabriel Award, WFSB-TV said.
"As the longest-serving news anchor at a single television station in Connecticut, Denise D’Ascenzo has entered millions of homes in our state for more than thirty years. Through her dedicated work and dependable reporting, she earned the distinction of being a trusted name in journalism, and her reporting most certainly made an impact," Governor Ned Lamont said in a statement.
She has been recognized for her work with several charities including the Muscular Dystrophy Association, Mary's Place and the Channel 3 Kids Camp, the station said.
"Denise dedicated herself to the people of Connecticut. The news of her passing is incredibly saddening, and I extend my deepest condolences to Denise’s family, friends, and colleagues at WFSB. She is undoubtedly a Connecticut legend," Lamont said.
"Denise D'Ascenzo epitomized competence, class and integrity. For more than 30 years, she guided Connecticut through tragedy and triumph. We will miss her huge heart, her boundless generosity, and her tireless grace. Connecticut has lost a television legend, invaluable voice and a dear friend," Senator Richard Blumenthal said in a statement.
There were no immediate details about the circumstances of her death.
"She was a great listener and a gentle soul. She was a champion for those whose voices couldn't be heard," Neves said. "On camera and behind the scenes she had a sense of kindness, grace and elegance that the world could certainly use more of."
NBC Connecticut expresses our condolences to Denise's family and friends, and to her colleagues at WFSB.