Leslie Swick Van Ness was on vacation in Florida when she “got sick and went to the hospital,” a co-worker said.
Former Illinois news anchor Leslie Swick Van Ness has died. He was 42 years old.
He died Monday of a sudden illness while on vacation with his family, according to NBC affiliate WGEM-TV, where he worked for more than a decade.
“Leslie became ill while on vacation with her beautiful family in Florida and was hospitalized last Thursday,” wrote Jennifer Dale, vice president of hiring for Gray Television, where Van Ness was working at the time of her death. Muddy River news release.
“It is with a heavy heart that we share this devastating news. Leslie Van Ness, who we were blessed to have in the Gray family, passed away Monday morning,” Dale wrote. “Leslie and her husband Tom have two beautiful children. Please keep them all in your prayers.”
No further information has been released about his death, although one obituary says he died in Naples.
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After graduating from Illinois State University, Van Ness began his career as an intern at WGEM-TV before being hired by Broadcaster Quincy.
He joined the network as a reporter in 2003, weekend host in 2006, and finally evening host in 2008.
He wrote on LinkedIn that he “held that last position for about nine years.”
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In the year In 2016, when “family priorities” changed, Van Ness changed careers and became a hiring manager for Quincy Media, which was acquired by Gray Television in 2021.
“I now have the incredible opportunity to make Gray’s recruiting initiative one of the best in the industry,” Van Ness, who served as director of talent acquisition at the time of his death, wrote on LinkedIn.
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Many who worked with Van Ness mourned his death, reflecting on his personal and professional impact.
“He wasn’t afraid to do the dirty work and he wasn’t afraid to work overtime, especially if it was something that was going to hurt the community,” WGEM meteorologist Brian Inman told the station.
The Quincy Media colleague said she had “helped countless reporters and staffers land their first radio career” and was “a picture of health, positivity and energy.”
Host Janice Rebholz Van Ness shared an “exciting” story, writing that after announcing her pregnancy, she “gave me a stack of 20 moms I no longer need.”
“He didn’t ask for anything in return,” Rebholz added. “He loved helping the younger generation of journalists, especially women. He was a real inspiration.”
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“From my first conversation with him, I knew he was a force,” wrote Natalie Will, who began her internship at WGEM the same day as Van Ness.
The presenter added: “She was fierce, determined and loyal, compassionate and caring. She will be sorely missed.”
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