The Atlanta community is mourning the loss of veteran local news anchor Jovita Moore. Moore had recently been diagnosed with glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer that comes with a grim prognosis.
"Jovita was a wonderful mother, daughter, and dear friend to many," Atlanta Mayor Keisha Bottoms wrote in a statement shared on Twitter. "Even those who did not know her personally felt a deep and personal connection to Jovita. She loved Atlanta dearly." Bottoms offered condolences for her family, including her children.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp was also saddened to learn of her passing: "Over the past 6 months, she inspired us all with her strength, courage and grace. Her professionalism and dedication made Georgia a better place," he wrote on Twitter.
Like many cases of the disease, the diagnosis came as a shock: Moore, who was 53 at the time of her death, had been an active and prominent journalist in the area for 23 years. She appeared on TV several times a day, anchoring the late afternoon and evening newscasts. Outside of her television work, she was a mom of three and a volunteer at a local non-profit helping homeless kids.
But in April, Moore revealed she underwent an MRI after noticing troubling symptoms.
“I was really concerned about why all of a sudden I was forgetful, disoriented and just not feeling myself. Feeling like I was in a fog and really wanting to get out of that fog,” Moore said at the time in an interview with her station, WSB-TV. She recalled almost passing out while heading to a supermarket.
“I remember walking across the parking lot and feeling like I wasn’t going to make it to the door. I was almost like walking in quicksand.”
The brain scan showed two small masses, which were removed during a surgery in April. A few months later, the station announced the tumors turned out to be glioblastoma, the most common and most aggressive form of brain cancer in adults, accounting for 35%-40% of malignant brain tumors, according to the National Cancer Institute.
Most glioblastomas seem to occur randomly and can affect anyone, at any age. There is no cure, and treatment is difficult since glioblastoma grows tentacles into the brain that are impossible to remove. As it spreads, the tumor can affect cognition, mood, behavior and every function of the body, the National Brain Tumor Society warned.
Most patients survive for less than two years. The same disease took the lives of Sen. John McCain and Beau Biden, son of President Joe Biden.
“This journey for me started with an unusual headache so if something’s not right with you, I urge you to please get yourself checked,” Moore said, thanking viewers for their support.
In August, Moore’s neurosurgeon said the journalist was undergoing radiation and chemotherapy, which may have slowed down the lesions, but wouldn’t cure them.
“That’s one of the reasons I’m so desperate to continue to work on better treatments for these patients,” Dr. Edjah Nduom, an associate professor of neurosurgery at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, told WSB-TV at the time.
"Her legacy as a Georgia icon and world-class journalist will live on in the hearts of everyone who welcomed Jovita into their homes countless times to inform them about their community and keep them and their families safe," wrote Kemp.