Longtime NBC 4 Washington anchor and reporter Wendy Rieger has passed away after a battle with brain cancer, the station announced Saturday. She was only 65.
A popular figure in the D.C. market for more than four decades, Rieger started her news career at CNN’s Washington D.C. bureau, then moved to radio at WAMU (American University Radio) and WTOP before making the move to local TV and Washington’s NBC station WRC-TV in 1988, which was her work home until December of 2021. Rieger began anchoring the WRC-TV weekend evening newscast in 1996, and moved to the afternoon newscast in 2001.
“She shared a lot of her life with us over the years talking about her homes, her cats, her boat, her love of wine and her love of the area from the waters of Maryland to the mountains of Virginia,” her longtime colleague and friend Doreen Gentzler wrote. “And, of course, the culture of Washington.”
Rieger experienced a variety of health issues in recent years. She was off the air for several weeks in 2020 recovering from open heart surgery. Rieger underwent an ablation procedure, which helped address a rapid heartbeat, known as atrial fibrillation (or AFib) and another procedure that repaired a mitral valve that wasn’t closing properly.
But the issues weren’t gone. Rieger was diagnosed with brain cancer almost a year ago. She had surgery and treatment, then retired from local TV news in December. Her cancer returned aggressively several weeks ago, and she died Saturday morning.
“Wendy loved life as much as it loved her. She had so many passions and lived life sharing them with everyone she could. For more than 30 years, NBC4 Washington viewers benefited from her unique style that blended humor, intelligence and compassion, and we are all better for knowing her,” added Gentzler.
— NBC4 Washington (@nbcwashington) April 16, 2022
Washington D.C. mayor Muriel Bowser tweeted out her condolences as well:
I’m heartbroken over the passing of one of DC’s most beloved anchors, Wendy Rieger.
Wendy delivered the news honestly — with humor, heart, & expertise and she will be missed dearly. Our hearts are with Dan, her @nbcwashington family, and the many, many people who loved Wendy. pic.twitter.com/BAWSJJK3U9
— Mayor Muriel Bowser (@MayorBowser) April 16, 2022