Founding Fox News Anchor Uma Pemmaraju Dead at 64

Uma Pemmaraju
Uma Pemmaraju  

Jemal Countess/Getty Images

Uma Pemmaraju, an original Fox News anchor and pioneering Indian-American journalist, has died. She was 64.

"We are deeply saddened by the death of Uma Pemmaraju, who was one of FOX News Channel's founding anchors and was on the air the day we launched," FOX News Media CEO Suzanne Scott said in a statement Tuesday. "Uma was an incredibly talented journalist as well as a warm and lovely person, best known for her kindness to everyone she worked with. We extend our heartfelt condolences to her entire family,"

The cause of her death was not immediately known, per the network.

Pemmaraju was on set when Fox News launched on October 7, 1996, first anchoring Fox News Now and Fox On Trends.

After departing for Bloomberg News, she returned to Fox in 2003 as a substitute anchor for The Fox Report and the Sunday edition of FOX News Live, according to the New York Post, and even once had a sit-down with the Dalai Lama.

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When she was six-years-old, Pemmaraju's family moved from Rajahmundry, India to San Antonio, Texas, and was the only Indian family in the city, according to a 1993 article in The Boston Globe.

Her father was a research scientist who specialized in birth control and had been asked to start a new foundation for population studies, per the newspaper, while her mother, a housewife, raised Uma and her two brothers as Americans with "Indian cultural values."

Uma graduated from Trinity University with a degree in political science, and her first job in journalism was at the San Antonio Express-News.

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She then launched her career in broadcasting at a news affiliate in Dallas, before an Emmy-award-winning stint in Baltimore and then moved on to Boston, where she worked at WBZ-TV, according to Fox News.

At the time, the Globe reported that she "burst onto Boston's media scene in 1984 like a rocket with booster jets blazing."

Uma Pemmaraju
Uma Pemmaraju  

Presley Ann/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Former Fox News personality Megyn Kelly, sportscaster Michele Tafoya and WBZ-TV Boston anchor David Wade are among those who have shared their condolences on Twitter about Pemmaraju's death.

"Her family tells me she was a 'noble soul and pioneer' as an Indian Asian American news woman of prominence," Wade wrote on Twitter.

Opening up to the Globe in 1993, Pemmaraju described herself as "a conduit to help other people."

"I don't want to sound too sentimental. But that's what I'm about. I want to use my celebrity to help people, to help bring about something that needs to be done," she said at the time.


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