An NBC News staffer who tested positive for the new coronavirus has died, NBC Chairman Andy Lack said in a memo to staff on Friday morning.
Audio technician Larry Edgeworth was 61 at the time of his death, sources tell PEOPLE, and had “suffered from other health issues that led him to succumb to the illness,” Lack said in his memo.
Edgeworth had worked at NBC for 25 years in audio and in the equipment room, Lack said, and was a “longtime member of our NBC News family.” The news was first reported by the Daily Beast.
The man on the left is Larry Edgeworth. I met him as the sound tech on our team that covered the Romney campaign in 2012. He called me “slim,” and helped me put together my first resume tape. He was SO proud of his kids. He was hilarious. Yesterday he lost his fight with COVID-19 pic.twitter.com/73D93utgPX
— Garrett Haake (@GarrettHaake) March 20, 2020
“Many of you were fortunate enough to work with Larry over the years, so you know that he was the guy you wanted by your side no matter where you were,” Lack said. “Stacy Brady says he was known as the ‘gentle giant who would give you the shirt off his back.’”
A source at NBC tells PEOPLE that the staff is “all really upset.”
“It’s completely heartbreaking, especially because we can’t all be together to grieve right now,” they said. “We’re all such a family and losing one of own is just unimaginable.”
Today host Savannah Guthrie shared a tribute to Edgeworth on Instagram, and said her “heart breaks” at his passing.
“I adored Larry,” she wrote. “We traveled together for two straight months on a campaign in 2008 and he was always the most warm, most professional, most loving. All hours of the day and night, no matter how hungry or tired or stressed we were — he was always a joy. He loved his work and excelled at it. He loved his colleagues and boy did we love him. Larry, dear, I will miss you. My deepest condolences and prayers to his family.”
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My heart breaks this morning at the loss of NBC audio technician Larry Edgeworth (pictured right) due to COVID19. I adored Larry. We traveled together for two straight months on a campaign in 2008 and he was always the most warm, most professional, most loving. All hours of the day and night, no matter how hungry or tired or stressed we were – he was always a joy. He loved his work and excelled at it. He loved his colleagues and boy did we love him. Larry, dear, I will miss you. My deepest condolences and prayers to his family.
NBC previously said that an employee from the 3rd Hour of Today had tested positive for COVID-19 and co-hosts Al Roker and Craig Melvin opted to self-quarantine at home as a precaution. Guthrie also decided to tape her portion of the show from her basement after developing a “mild sore throat.”
“In an abundance of caution, and to model the super vigilance the CDC has asked of all of us, I’m staying home because I have a mild sore throat and runny nose,” Guthrie said during Tuesday’s broadcast. “This was the advice of NBC’s superb medical team and my bosses.”
Though the virus is mild for around 80 percent of people, those over 65 years old or with pre-exisiting medical conditions are at a higher risk of developing a severe case of COVID-19, and dying.
As of Friday morning, there are at least 12,392 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States and 195 people have died of COVID-19-related illnesses.