CNN anchors paid tribute to Jay Conroy, a stage manager at the news network for two decades, on Monday. Conroy died over the weekend, anchor Jim Sciutto announced, calling Conroy a "deeply special person." Sciutto credited Conroy with helping lead the CNN news team to safety during a 2018 bomb threat.
Conroy's cause of death was not revealed. "He was kind, sincere," Sciutto said. "He was generous and, trust us, just so funny. He looked out for us. When we had to evacuate in 2018 due to a letter bomb threat, it was Jay... who shepherded us, ordered us in fact, off the set and out of the building to safety."
Conroy was also passionate about classic rock. He ran the website Rock Hard, in which he interviewed his favorite rock and roll icons. During a 2012 CNN show, his colleagues surprised him by introducing him to his favorite band, Aerosmith. He often wore Aerosmith shirts to work, as seen in CNN's tribute video.
"His shear love of Rock lead him to see hundreds of concerts over the years and more recently new bands carrying the torch of Rock music," Rock Hard producer Chris Madden wrote on Conroy's website. "The amount of Rock 'n' Roll knowledge he had was staggering. He knew inside stories about bands that were truly amazing. He started his radio show out of that life-long love of Rock and it was that passion that made his interviews with bands so good. He was often [complemented] by the musicians he interviewed. Jay was always well researched and excited for every interview. Jay connected with the musicians he interviewed and ended up becoming friends with many of them."
Several CNN journalists have tweeted tributes to Conroy as well. "Devastating news here at CNN today. Jay was an incredible person who always greeted you with a smile and a story," Oliver Darcy tweeted. "He was kind and thoughtful and had the best energy. Gutting to hear that we have lost him."
"We've lost a friend at CNN. Jay Conroy was a stage manager – and so much more," Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter wrote. "He was a producer, greeter, fixer, hype man, unsung hero for anchors and guests. Just last month, he ran two hours' worth of Reliable Sources tapings with a 1000-watt smile, putting us all at ease. Jay brought out the best in us, every show, every time. I think that's because he was a broadcaster in his own right, hosting his own hard rock show. He knew how to prep us and he knew how to make us laugh."