Deborah Roberts and Al Roker are mourning the loss of a beloved family member. Roberts announced on Tuesday that her eldest sister, Annette, recently passed away following a years-long battle with Alzheimer's. Her passing followed the February death of Roberts' brother-in-law Lawrence Clarington. The ABC News correspondent, 61, shared the tragic news alongside a moving tribute in which she reflected on her sister's life and legacy.
Sharing a gallery of images of her sister, Roberts wrote in a message to fans, "We have lost the glow of a warm light in my family," adding that Annette struggled against Alzheimer's for 5-6 years before succumbing to complications which robbed her of everything that made her so special. I hate this disease." Roberts went on to share that her sister was her "role model as I grew up" and the first in our family to go to college. And she always managed to look like a movie star to me. I owe my love of high fashion to her. (Or I blame her for it)."
So very sad to lose my oldest sister, Annette. She was a warm and inspirational presence in my life. Dementia claimed her as it does more than 200 thousand Americans each year. A despicable disease which I hope we will find a cure for one day pic.twitter.com/6WIo96E8eU— Deborah Roberts (@DebRobertsABC) July 5, 2022
Continuing to reflect on her sister's life, Roberts revealed that Annette got a job while attending Fort Valley State College, which allowed her to eventually buy "the most beautiful ready to wear clothing at a high end shop in our town called Vanity Fair." The news anchor said she had "never seen such lovely dresses, scarves, or shoes," recalling how her sister "was always the picture of elegance. And she was a stickler for order and tidiness." Roberts shared that her sister worked as an account executive and she and her husband "lived in Germany for years where her husband was stationed in the Air Force" before they "eventually settled in Houston in a beautiful home."
"I marveled at her worldliness as she began to travel. She even gave me and all the sibs a set of luggage when we graduated HS. Maybe a nudge which I gladly took," Roberts wrote. "She was always a bit reserved and held her emotions in check but she was passionate about her son Justin, her husband Richard and all of her family... Annette was a pragmatic and strong woman who believed in possibilities. While I'm relieved that her suffering has ended, I will miss her fiercely."
In a separate tribute shared to Twitter, Roberts remembered her sister as "a warm and inspirational presence" in her life. She wrote that "dementia claimed her as it does more than 200 thousand Americans each year. A despicable disease which I hope we will find a cure for one day."
News of Annette's death was met with an outpouring of support, with ABC News correspondent Rebecca Jarvis commenting, "Sending so much love and holding you all in my prayers." David Muir added, "sending love." GMA contributor Tory Johnson wrote, "Sending love ... may Annette's memory always be a blessing ... everyone will now think of her – and thank her – for your impeccable style."