Wisconsin news anchor Neena Pacholke passed away on Saturday in an apparent suicide.
The 27-year-old anchor’s wedding was scheduled to take place in six weeks.
In a statement about Pacholke’s death, the station wrote that the entire team at News 9 are “absolutely devastated by the loss as we know so many others are as well. Neena loved this community and the people who lived here. She was a kind person with a big heart and a contagious smile and we will miss her greatly.”
We are absolutely devastated to share with you all that Neena passed away suddenly. Please keep her family and friends in your thoughts. Feel free to share any favorite memories or condolences in the comments below. https://t.co/yE9eamrjiW
— News 9 WAOW (@WAOW) August 29, 2022
“We ask you to please keep her family in your thoughts at this time as we all cope with the loss,” the statement continued. “We will have much more on the life and legacy Neena had later in the week.”
— Neena Pacholke (@neenapacholketv) June 29, 2022
Prior to becoming a news anchor, Pacholke was a star basketball player at the University of South Florida.
The anchor’s older sister Kaitlynn Pacholke told the Tampa Bay Times that “she was just like a little ball of sunshine, and her smile was massive.”
“And she could just make you feel like you were the most important person, whether she knew you for five minutes or her whole life,” her sister added. “We would be out at coffee and someone would recognize her, and she would lighten them up the way she’s made me feel the last 27 years.”
Kaitlynn told the newspaper that “my sister was by far the happiest person I thought I knew.”
“Sometimes you just don’t know what people are going through, no matter how much you think you know someone,” she continued. “My sister had access to every resource you could imagine. She was loved by everybody. She was so good at her job.”
On August 18, Pacholke had retweeted a motivational post from author Jon Gordon. It read, “We are not positive because life is easy. We are positive because life can be hard. Give yourself (and others) grace. Speak life and encourage others. Look for the good today. Remember your WHY. Believe the best is yet to come.”
We are not positive because life is easy. We are positive because life can be hard.
Give yourself (and others) grace.
Speak life and encourage others.
Look for the good today.
Remember your WHY.
Believe the best is yet to come.
— Jon Gordon (@JonGordon11) August 18, 2022
A GoFundMe has been launched to help the Pacholke family cover funeral costs and expenses. It has raised over $11,000 in less than a day.
If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, reach out to the 24–hour National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255; contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741; or chat with someone online at suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
Editor’s Note: this article was updated to include a link to a GoFundMe for the Pacholke family.