Kelley Mitchell, a mainstay in South Florida broadcasting for more than two decades, died yesterday at the age of 58, according to a report from her former station WPLG.
A native of Oklahoma, Mitchell came to prominence in Miami as the main female anchor for news power WSVN throughout much of the '90s, often paired with Rick Sanchez. Mtichell then decamped to rival Local 10, WPLG, where she worked as a reporter in the late '90s for seven years while also anchoring radio news on WFTL for three years.
More recently, Mitchell could be heard delivering the afternoon news on WLRN-FM until parting ways with the NPR affiliate earlier this year. Since then, she'd been filling in on talk-radio station WIOD AM.
Mitchell's career had also been punctuated by numerous health problems. In 2003, she announced her battle with breast cancer on WPLG and then invited cameras and the viewing public to witness her battle with the disease. Last year, she was hospitalized with a collapsed lung. In 2009 and 2010, she battled a mystery condition that at one point had her hospitalized in intensive care.
"It didn't look good," she told the Sun-Sentinel at the time. "I had no ability to absorb nutrition. I needed blood transfusions, and I was in intensive care five times... I kept getting weaker. I could feel life slipping away."
The cause of Mitchell's death has not been released, but the remembrances are already pouring in.
"There was a great playfulness about Kelley, both personally in the office and professionally," WPLG political reporter Michael Putney told the station. "She could do things on the air and get away with things that were maybe skating along the edge as being a little editorial, but she did them so well that you kind of laughed and said, 'Well, that's Kelley.'"
On Twitter, viewers and colleagues recalled her tenure on the airwaves.
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Heart is heavy. Learned Kelley Mitchell passed away. She was an incredible anchor in Miami. I learned so much by watching her.— Martha Sugalski (@MarthaSugalski) May 11, 2015
Last night, Miami TV lost a journalism legend. RIP Kelley Mitchell. Will miss your friendship, humor & gift of gab. pic.twitter.com/QzNWBxh5r3— Kevin Ozebek (@KevinOzebek) May 11, 2015