An NBC News employee has died after testing positive for the coronavirus.
In a memo sent Friday to staff, NBC News Chairman Andy Lack said longtime audio technician Larry Edgeworth died on Thursday after being diagnosed earlier in the week. His age was not disclosed, but MSNBC reported that he was 61.
Lack said Edgeworth had worked at NBC for 25 years out of its Rockefeller Center headquarters in Manhattan. According to his wife, Crystal, Edgeworth suffered from other health issues that made him vulnerable to the virus.
As the number of coronavirus cases rises, a growing number of TV news staff members are testing positive. CBS News has a half-dozen cases and has moved most operations out of its broadcast center.
On Monday, NBC News said two of its “Today” co-hosts, Al Roker and Craig Melvin, had been exposed to an employee who tested positive for the virus. They have worked remotely from their homes all week. According to an NBC News representative, the two were not exposed to Edgeworth.
“Larry most recently worked in the equipment room on the fifth floor, but prior to that he spent most of his 25 years at NBC News as a skilled audio technician, often traveling to the most remote locations,” Lack said in his memo. “Many of you were fortunate enough to work with Larry over the years, so you know that he was the guy you wanted by your side no matter where you were.”
“Today” co-anchor Savannah Guthrie paid a tribute to Edgeworth on Twitter, having traveled with him while covering the 2008 presidential campaign. “I adored him,” she wrote. “He was full of spirit and joy and humor.”
Edgeworth is the first known fatality at a media company since the pandemic began. New York state had more than 7,000 confirmed cases with more than 4,000 located in New York City, where around 26 victims have died.
On Friday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered 100% of nonessential workforces to stay home to prevent further escalation of the pandemic.
Television news is still operating with most anchors and correspondents working remotely, many from home studios. All scripted entertainment productions and talk shows have been shut down along with the rest of businesses throughout the city.
NBC has also suspended production of “Saturday Night Live,” which like the network’s news programming is also based out of its Rockefeller Center headquarters.