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Darcy Pohland, longtime WCCO journalist, reported to have died in her sleep

Darcy Pohland

Darcy Pohland

WCCO-TV is reporting that Darcy Pohland, who has worked at the station for two decades, died in her sleep overnight. She was 48.

The station says Pohland was discovered by a personal care attendant Friday morning at her home in Minneapolis.

"She had the biggest smile and the loudest laugh of anyone I've ever met," WCCO's Jason DeRusha wrote on his blog this morning. "I can't imagine our newsroom, and my life without her. I, like all of my coworkers, have spent the past hour or so in tears. It's painful when you lose a friend or a relative, but it's just devastating to lose someone like Darcy."

From the station's news story:

She was first hired at WCCO-TV in 1986 after she served as an intern in the summer of 1983. She interned at WCCO-TV's Washington D.C. bureau while attending George Washington University.

While an intern, Pohland dove into the shallow end of her apartment swimming pool and broke her neck. The accident caused permanent paralysis from the chest down.

"Darcy was the only television news reporter in the country working every single day in a wheelchair," DeRusha said.

The cause of death has not been determined.

UPDATE: Pohland's Facebook page is filling up with hundreds of accolades and remembrances. The station has posted a follow up story with interviews of Pohland's family.

And, WCCO producer Tracy Pearlman writes:

Darcy helped me get my first internship, which led to my second one, and that eventually led to the job I have now. Despite all the talks we've had throughout the years, I'm not sure she really knew how much I admired her. Darcy was my true first journalism teacher, but along the way Darcy taught me much more than about life.