An electronic graphics operator at CNN died Wednesday after experiencing a “medical emergency” at the network’s New York headquarters.
In an internal memo sent to employees on Wednesday, network executives said Elkas had worked at CNN for 26 years, most recently in New York City.
“We have some heartbreaking news to share with you all. Earlier today, a member of our CNN family, Melissa Elkas, an Electronics Graphics Operator for CNN New York, experienced a medical emergency and later passed away at the hospital,” the memo read.
Melissa Elkas joined CNN in 1997, according to her LinkedIn. Elkas was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital, according to Deadline.
“Melissa was a friend to everyone and dear friend to many. She was warm, caring and loved CNN and what we do more than anything else,” the memo read.
“She dedicated her life’s work to CNN, to our journalism and to supporting everything we do every day.”
According to the memo, Elkas had worked on numerous shows and specials for CNN, initially in Atlanta. “Melissa had a deep commitment to getting it right and was a huge part of every team she’s been on,” it read. “You could frequently see her walking the halls on the 19th floor in Hudson Yards before any of her shows to get her steps in — always with a smile. She was beloved by the Tech Ops team, and all those who worked with her.”
Remembering our colleague Melissa Elkas: pic.twitter.com/BgRqYLpcVv— CNN This Morning (@CNNThisMorning) August 3, 2023
CNN This Morning shared a tribute to Elkas on Thursday.
In an emotional moment, co-host Poppy Harlow said Elkas worked on CNN This Morning “every morning, as happy as can be.” “Those banners that you see at the bottom of your screen? That was all her. The full-screen graphics you see throughout the broadcast — that was all Melissa,” Harlow added.
Harlow continued: “She was dedicated to putting on the best show and by all accounts, she consistently delivered. But even more than that, she was just one of the best people we knew. She was smart and loving, so funny. She was a huge animal lover, especially of her cats. And boy, were they lucky to have her. Her family lovingly called her, ‘Missy.’ And we will deeply miss her.”
On Wednesday night, CNN host Anderson Cooper honored Elkas at the end of his primetime slot, saying, “To say that she was a vital part of CNN would be an understatement.”
In addition to playing a mentor role to many at CNN, Cooper said, Elkas was known for her infectious laugh.
“You could hear her laugh echo through the halls at work and the control room,” he said.
“Believe me, there is a lot of pressure in this job, but that laugh—Melissa could help put things in perspective.”