Kathi Goertzen, a news anchor with Seattle's KOMO-TV news, died Monday after a 14-year battle with benign brain tumors at just 54-years-old.
"Our co-worker, our angel, our precious friend, Kathi Goertzen, died today, surrounded by her loving family," wrote New Director Holly Gauntt on a special remembrance page for Goertzen. "The long fight against the tumors that have ravaged her brain is over. She is at peace now, comfortable and surrounded by all that is good. Please know, as we do, that your love enveloped her. It strengthened and encouraged her."
Last Friday, a posting to Goertzen’s Facebook page alerted fans to her condition.
“Hello friends, this is Kathi's family," began the post. "Kathi is sick and back in the hospital ICU and, as usual, fighting hard with the help of faith and good doctors and nurses. You have played an important part in her recovery over the years. We ask that you all say a prayer for Kathi at 7:15pm tonight. Together our thoughts and prayers will help her heal. We are grateful and we know she is, too.”
The Seattle Times commemorated Goertzen as "one of the most recognized and trusted anchors in local TV news for a generation."
Goertzen had been a part of KOMO-TV since 1979, when she joined the team as an intern, according to The Seattle Times. She went on to anchor for more than 20 years.
In 1998, she was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor that ultimately damaged the nerves controlling her speech and swallowing, reported King 5. She had surgery and returned to work in just one month, but in 2005 the tumor grew back and she was unable to anchor.
Goertzen was voted "Woman of the Year" in the 2011 Best of Western Washington.
"It's been a rough road, as you know," she told King 5 at the time. "I was diagnosed with this atypical meningioma more than 10 years ago and I've had several surgeries and radiation an tried lots of different drugs and I've lose cranial nerve that controls my face and my hearing and my voice and my balance."
Her strength never wavered.
"There's only one way to take life now and that's one day at a time, and it's funny when you stop planning and planning and try to decided what you're going to do next, how each day becomes more beautiful," she added while speaking with King 5.
Chris Gregoire, governor of Washington State, sent out a Twitter message expressing her love and respect for Goertzen:
Kathi Goertzen was among the finest and most courageous people. She is in my heart and will not be forgotten by her countless friends.
— Chris Gregoire (@GovGregoire) August 13, 2012
Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn said in a statement: "As the face of KOMO news for 20 years, Kathi Goertzen was a successful and accomplished journalist who approached her work with integrity, compassion, and a dedication to the public good. Her strength and resiliency during her illness made her an inspiration to many in our community. She will be long remembered in Seattle for her accomplishments at the anchor desk, as well as her grace in the face of adversity. Kathi was beloved by the people of Seattle, and we will miss her."
Goertzen is survived by her two daughters, Alexa and Andrea.