Daisha Riley, an award-winning journalist and producer on Good Morning America, died “suddenly and unexpectedly.” GMA announced her death on Tuesday morning, July 21, and aired a special tribute to the journalist. Her cause of death was not immediately provided. She was 35 years old.
GMA’s announcement is available here:
Producer Tony Morrison tweeted about the news on Monday night, writing, “Absolutely devastated tonight to learn that Emmy-winning journalist, producer and friend, Daisha Riley, passed away last night. She was a force, full of talent and powerful perspective. We’ll be honoring her tomorrow on @GMA. Daisha is the 4th GMA staffer we’ve lost in 2020.”
Riley Worked at ‘Good Morning America’ for Over 13 Years & Won a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Morning Program
Riley obtained her bachelor’s in journalism at Purchase College, State University of New York, in 2006. She then briefly worked at MTV as a tape coordinator before beginning her career at ABC’s Good Morning America in 2007, according to her LinkedIn. Riley began her work for GMA as a production associate before becoming an associate producer and then a producer in 2014.
During GMA’s tribute to Riley, Michael Strahan said she was a “young and talented producer.” He said Riley “rose through the ranks over the years on our show working on stories that have made so many of you, our viewers, smile and tear up. Her legacy lives on in the powerful voice she shared through storytelling.”
The tribute goes on to say that even though viewers may not know Riley by name, her work as a storyteller was a key part of GMA for the past 14 years. Riley “was not the loudest voice in the room, but she was always the smartest. Funny and brilliant and above all, kind, quick with a smile and a kitten meme just when you needed it most.” Strahan said it’s difficult to come to terms with her sudden passing and said the team’s thoughts are with Riley’s family and her fiancé.
Earlier this year, on April 12, 2020, another GMA producer, Thea Trachtenberg, died at the age of 51 after a 20-year career with GMA. At the time, Riley said, “Thea set the bar when it came to producing. … I learned how to write for [Good Morning America] watching Thea … and when my boss asked me where I want to see my career I would say … I want to be Thea.”
Many Posted Tributes on Social Media Following News of Riley’s Sudden Passing
Good Morning America anchor Robin Roberts tweeted, “Daisha Riley was a remarkable woman….talented, creative, kind, a beautiful soul in every way. Condolences to her beloved family. Our @GMA family loved her and will be forever grateful to have experienced Daisha’s grace & grit.”
GMA associate producer Jessy Mendoza wrote, “This has not been an easy year for our team. Immensely heartbroken to learn the sad news of producer extraordinaire, Daisha Riley. She was my GMA mentor. I’m so privileged to have learned and worked with her. Thinking of her until the rest of my GMA days.”
One Twitter user named Sahlia identified herself at Riley’s cousin and posted, “For my first tweet, on my birthday. Thank you for your piece on my cousin, we all are so proud of her accomplishments while at @GMA. As you can imagine how heartbroken and devastated we are, this was beautiful way to honor my beloved cousin @Daisha_Riley!”
Another GMA producer, Kieran McGirl, wrote, “Yesterday, I was shocked and saddened to hear about the passing of Daisha Riley. My boss Seth said it. Best. ‘Some people are World Class Producers. Some people are World Class Human Beings… Daisha was both. Always try to be both.’ That spoke volumes to me about who Daisha is.”