It’s said that the longtime news vet suffered from varying health issues.
Allison Payne, former anchor of WGN-TV News in Chicago, has died. The longtime news vet was 57-years-old.
Payne was a member of the WGN 9 News team for a 21 year run before retiring in 2011 after a series of health issues, according to WGN-TV.
Before putting her roots down in Chicago, Payne was born in Richmond, Virginia and grew up in Detroit. There she earned a Bachelors degree at the University of Detroit, and eventually a Masters degree from Bowling Green University in Ohio, according to The Daily Herald.
Payne would return to Michigan in 1988 to anchor for NBC affiliate WNEM in Saginaw. In 1990, at age 25, she began her two decade tenure as an anchor for WGN-TV. Most of those years were spent alongside co-anchor Rick Rosenthal Monday through Friday on the 9 pm news.
She would go on to win nine Chicago Emmy Awards for her work at WGN-TV.
“Allison was young, vibrant, sharp, articulate. She was amazing,” WGN meteorologist Tom Skilling said to RobertFeder.com. “You looked at Allison and said here is a young journalist who has the world before her. One could only speculate where her incredible career was going to go.”
In 2008, Payne missed much time on the air after suffering a series of mini-strokes, according WGN-TV. Payne also disclosed that she battled alcohol addiction throughout her life, as reported by RobertFeder.com. She would officially retire from WGN-TV and would move back to Detroit, where she died.
Several journalists took to Twitter to share their heartbreak and shock about the death of Payne. Host, Roland Martin, recalled Payne as a “sweet, kind woman; a great anchor,” and a woman “who had an adorable smile.”
“I am heartbroken over the death of Allison Payne,” Chicago native, Afua Owusu, shared. “For 21 years, she was theee face of @WGNNews for me, a little black girl living in Bolingbrook, IL. My parents moved my bedtime to 9:30p so that I could watch the nightly news with @AllisonPayneTV & Steve Sanders.”
Owusu also tweeted that Payne “took her under her wing” when she started working at WGN over 10 years later.
Another Twitter user and mentee of the journalist wrote, “I’m heartbroken. Allison Payne was my TV godmother, my mentor, my beloved friend. I wish I could’ve saved her like she protected me when I first started this crazy career. She was fiercely smart, beautiful, generous. I can’t believe she’s gone.”
No cause of death has been provided at this time.
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