Longtime NBC 4 anchor and beloved local personality Wendy Rieger has died. The station shared the news, confirming the anchor's passing on Saturday morning after a short battle with Glioblastoma, a fast-acting and severe form of brain cancer.
Rieger revealed her condition in July 2021, announcing she had undergone surgery to remove a tumor and was undertaking a treatment plan following her diagnosis. In December, she retired from NBC4 and had open heart surgery to fix a pair of conditions. According to Deadline, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser declared Dec. 17, 2021, as Wendy Rieger Day in the city following her retirement.
"We lost our smart, vibrant, wonderful Wendy Rieger today," the statement from NBC 4 reads. "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 benefitted from her unique style that blended humor, intelligence and compassion, and we are all better for knowing her."
NBC4 adds that Rieger was "intent to savorr the rest of her life and start a new chapter" after her retirement. "Her cancer returned aggressively several weeks ago, and she died this morning holding the hand of her husband, Dan. We send our love to Dan, who was a colleague of ours for decades, and to her brothers, nieces and nephews and many, many friends," the statement continued.
I’m heartbroken over the passing of one of DC’s most beloved anchors, Wendy Rieger.— Mayor Muriel Bowser (@MayorBowser) April 16, 2022
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
Rieger was a graduate of American University in 1980, earning a bachelor's degree in journalism at the campus' school of communication. Before joining NBC4 in Washington, right around the corner from American University, Rieger worked at CNN in DC, WAMU radio and AU university radio as a writer and host. Before heading to college, she had also tasted broadcasting, holding a job as a newsreader in her hometown of Norfolk, Virginia. She was given some quality advice to "sound" like a news person. "You know, serious...Like Walter Cronkite," Rieger recounted. In 1996 she joined NBC4 as a weekend anchor before moving to afternoon broadcasts in 2001.
Rieger was one of many familiar faces to helm the NBC4 news over the years, including current Today personality Craig Melvin and late mainstay Jim Vance, who passed away in July 2017.