KOMO Anchor Kathi Goertzen Dies After Long Battle With Brain Tumors

By Merrill Knox 

Kathi Goertzen, a longtime anchor for KOMO in Seattle, died today after a long fight with brain tumors. She was 58.

News director Holly Gauntt announced the news in a post on the station’s website this afternoon:

The long fight against the tumors that have ravaged her brain is over. She is at peace now, comfortable and surrounded by all that is good. Please know, as we do, that your love enveloped her. It strengthened and encouraged her.

She loved your compassion and concern more than you’ll ever know. You helped her fight a valiant fight. We want to thank each and every one of you for that.

Goertzen was hospitalized over the weekend after developing pneumonia while undergoing treatment for the tumors, which she has battled for more than 10 years.

Goertzen’s career, which spanned more than three decades at the Seattle ABC-affiliate, was significantly altered by non-cancerous brain tumors, which were discovered in 1998. She returned to the station after surgery later that year, but the tumors re-appeared in 2005, eventually compromising her facial features and ability to speak on air.

“It’s hard to be on TV looking like this,” Goertzen said last year. “I miss my anchor chair more than anyone knows. I would really like to be back to ‘normal.'”

Goertzen continued to work off-camera for KOMO after her ability to speak was affected by the illness. She underwent multiple surgeries, the last one in April, attempting to remove the tumors.

Goertzen, a popular figure in Seattle, has been recognized by viewers and even rival stations during her illness.

“The best TV news anchors deliver the news like a friend – intelligently, honestly, and most of all with trust,” a statement on the website of rival Seattle station KING reads. “Kathi Goertzen was one of those anchors and we are all going to miss her.”

Gauntt’s post on KOMO’s website quotes Goertzen’s thoughts on her illness.

“I’m not afraid to die. I have a great belief, a great faith there’s more,” she said. “There’s more to me, there’s more to this life.”