AVENTURA, Fla. – Local 10 News is saddened to report that Jilda Unruh, a former Local 10 News anchor and reporter, has died. She was 65.
Jilda collapsed at her Aventura home Friday morning, according to a friend.
Efforts to revive her were not successful and her family says her cause of death has not been determined.
Jilda anchored the news on Channel 10 in the early 1990s with a sharp wit and real warmth.
She left the station, but returned in the 2000s as an award-winning investigative reporter.
“She was my first co-anchor at WPLG back in 1991 when I was just starting my career in TV news,” Local 10 News Anchor Louis Aguirre said. “I knew I was sitting next to a legend. A four-time Emmy-award-winning investigative journalist who had made a big name for herself in major markets like Miami, Boston and Minneapolis. Jilda was kind, patient, took me under her wing and helped me hone the skills I have today. I loved and respected her tremendously as a colleague and a friend. This is a big loss.”
Jilda could be compassionate or tough as nails. On the scent of a good story, she was relentless.
She was also as good as they come in TV news, and she could do it all. She was rock solid anchoring weekend newscasts on Channel 10, but her forte was investigative reporting.
Jilda exposed widespread drug use in Florida prisons and reported on a whistleblower who’d talked to a terrorist.
“She took me under her wing and showed me the way,” Local 10 investigative reporter Jeff Weinsier said. “If she loved you, she loved you, but if you were the target of one of her investigative pieces, look out. They called her the ‘pit bull in pumps,’”
Jilda’s broadcast career began in Tulsa, where she anchored the news and hosted her own talk show. But it was in South Florida where she became a star with her hard-hitting reporting.
Her work brought her a slew of awards, including four Emmys. She retired and wrote a novel, but recently was working as a consultant for the town of Surfside. She appeared to be in good health and good spirits.
Jilda and Local 10′s Michael Putney co-anchored the weekend news on Local 10 back in the early 1990′s and had a lot of fun doing it. She was a consummate pro. We will miss her.
Funeral services are still being arranged at this time.