Last July, Rieger announced that she underwent brain surgery to remove a tumor, and was undergoing treatment after being diagnosed with Glioblastoma. Several months later, she had open-heart surgery to fix two heart conditions. She announced her retirement in December. Following news of her retirement, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser declared Dec. 17, 2021, Wendy Rieger Day in the District.
I’m heartbroken over the passing of one of DC’s most beloved anchors, Wendy Rieger.
Wendy delivered the news honestly — with humor, heart, & expertise and she will be missed dearly. Our hearts are with Dan, her @nbcwashington family, and the many, many people who loved Wendy. pic.twitter.com/BAWSJJK3U9
— Mayor Muriel Bowser (@MayorBowser) April 16, 2022
Rieger was an actress in her hometown of Norfolk, VA when she took on a job as a news reader in the late 1970s for a local radio station to earn extra money, according to The Washington Post. She reportedly was advised by a station colleague to “sound” like a news person — “You know, serious,” she was told., “Like Walter Cronkite.”
Rieger graduated from American University in 1980 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Prior to joining NBC4 Washington in 1988 as reporter, Rieger worked at CNN’s Washington bureau, and at WAMU, American University Radio, as a writer and host. She also worked as an anchor at WTOP. Rieger began anchoring weekend evening newscasts at NBC4 in 1996, and went on to anchor the afternoon news beginning in 2001.
NBC 4 posted the statement below on its website.
“A note from the News4 family on the passing of Wendy Rieger
We lost our smart, vibrant, wonderful Wendy Rieger today.
Wendy loved life as much as it loved her. She had so many passions and lived life sharing them with everyone she could. For more than 30 years, NBC4 Washington viewers benefited from her unique style that blended humor, intelligence and compassion, and we are all better for knowing her.
Wendy was diagnosed with brain cancer almost a year ago. She had surgery and treatment, then retired in December with an intent to savor the rest of her life and start a new chapter. Her cancer returned aggressively several weeks ago, and she died this morning, holding the hand of her husband, Dan.
We send our love to Dan, who was a colleague of ours for decades, and to her brothers, nieces and nephews and many, many friends.”
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