CNN Graphics Operator Melissa Elkas Dies After Medical Emergency

CNN electronic graphics operator Melissa Elkas died on Wednesday after a medical emergency at the network’s New York headquarters.

“Melissa was a friend to everyone and dear friend to many,” CNN’s leadership team wrote in a memo to staffers. “She was warm, caring and loved CNN and what we do more than anything else. She dedicated her life’s work to CNN, to our journalism and to supporting everything we do every day.”

Elkas died at the hospital after experiencing the medical emergency. No additional details were available.

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Anderson Cooper paid tribute to Elkas at the end of his primetime show, telling viewers, “To say that she was a vital part of CNN would be an understatement.”

“Melissa could do it all. She was an electronic graphics operator, was part of a lot of different show teams. She helped with CNN Heroes and with our election coverage,” Cooper said.

Elkas worked at the network for 26 years, starting in Atlanta and eventually relocating to New York.

“Melissa was really good at her job, but she was also a really, really good human being,” Cooper said. “She was kind, loving. She was a mentor, always willing to help others and she knew how to make other people feel good.”

He added, “There was another thing about Melissa that so many people here will never forget. That was her laugh. It was infectious. …You could hear her laugh echo through the halls at work and the control room. Believe me, there is a lot of pressure in this job, but that laugh — Melissa could help put things in perspective.”

Elkas is survived by her mother Regina, brother Jon and sister Jennifer, as well as a sister in law and nieces and nephews.

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