Lisa Colagrossi, a reporter for ABC’s flagship New York station, died Friday following a brain hemorrhage suffered while she was returning to the station after covering a house fire in Queens. She was 49.
WABC-TV colleagues were stunned by her death. They remembered Colagrossi as a tenacious reporter with a warm spirit who was a dedicated wife and hockey mom to her two sons, ages 11 and 14.
“Lisa Colagrossi embodied the ‘Eyewitness News’ spirit — a straightforward reporter who told the truth, empathetic to the everyday citizens of the New York area, and demanding of those in power,” said Dave Davis, president and g.m. of WABC-TV. ”All of us in the Channel 7 family are in shock over her sudden death. Our attention is now focused on helping her husband and two children though this difficult time.”
Colagrossi collapsed Thursday morning while riding in an WABC-TV news van. She had just finished a report for “Eyewitness News This Morning” on the house fire. A photographer who was with her in the van managed to flag down an ambulance. She was taken to New York Presbyterian Hospital but never regained consciousness. She was pronounced dead on Friday.
“Lisa will be terribly missed,” said WABC-TV news director Camille Edwards. “Her bright smile and big blue eyes lit up our newsroom. She was a reporter with two wonderful qualities: grace and grit. Her ‘Eyewitness News’ family is overwhelmed with grief right now. Our hearts are truly broken.”
Colagrossi joined WABC-TV in 2001, shortly after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. She covered a wide range of breaking news in the tristate area during her time at the station, notably the crash of Flight 587 over New York City in November 2001 and the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy in 2012. She had also served as a substitute anchor on various newscasts.
A native of Cleveland, Colagrossi got her start in TV as a reporter for the city’s WKYC-TV. She moved on to reporting jobs at stations in Alabama and West Virginia. Before joining WABC, she was a primary news anchor for CBS affiliate WKMG-TV in Orlando, Fla.
In addition to her sons, Colagrossi’s survivors include her husband, Todd, of Stamford, Conn.