CHICAGO (CBS) — Described by her colleagues as tenacious and driven, veteran Chicago journalist Elizabeth Brackett died Sunday night, four days after a bicycle accident on the Lakefront.
Brackett, 76, not only was an award-winning reporter, she was a world-class triathlete. The longtime reporter and host for “Chicago Tonight” on WTTW was found Wednesday morning on the Lakefront Trail near 39th Street. It was unclear whether Brackett had a medical episode before crashing her bike.
Someone found Brackett on the ground near the bike path, and witnesses performed CPR until paramedic arrived. She suffered at least two fractured vertebrae in her neck, and was in a coma for more than four days until she died Sunday night at Stroger Hospital.
Chicago Tonight host Phil Ponce said he will remember Brackett for her passion and competitive spirit.
“Elizabeth had tremendous passion for the stories that she covered. It wasn’t just an assignment for her; whether she was covering the environment, whether she was covering women’s issues, whether it’s health, or women in the workplace, or whether it was social justice. She cared about what she covered,” he said.
During her four decades in television news, Brackett won multiple awards. Before her time on Chicago Tonight, Brackett also worked here at WBBM; as well as at WLS, and WGN. She was the first WGN reporter to do a live report on TV.
Brackett retired from WTTW in 2014, but remained an active triathlete.
She also won five international titles in her age group as a triathlete, most recently winning in Rotterdam last year.
“Being a competitor was innately who she was, whether it was a triathlete or as a reporter. She was extraordinary,” Ponce said.
Funeral services will be held at 1 p.m. Wednesday at Kenilworth Union Church in north suburban Kenilworth.