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Beloved Wisconsin news anchor Neena Pacholke dies at 27

“The entire team here at News 9 are absolutely devastated by the loss as we know so many others are as well,” her news station said.
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/ Source: TODAY

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A Wisconsin morning news anchor and former college basketball player was found dead at age 27 after she reportedly died by suicide.

Neena Pacholke was found dead Saturday morning as police conducted a welfare check at a home in Wausau, Wisconsin, after she reportedly made suicidal statements, a spokesperson for the Wausau Police Department told TODAY in a statement.

After officers did not receive an answer at the door, officers entered the residence and found Pacholke deceased, according to the spokesperson.

No foul play is suspected and the investigation is ongoing. Wausau Police said no additional details will be released at this time.

Neena Palcholke smiled while at work at News 9 WAOW.
Neena Palcholke smiled while at work at News 9 WAOW.@Neena Pacholke via Facebook

News 9 WAOW, Pacholke's employer, confirmed her death in a statement.

"The entire team here at News 9 are absolutely devastated by the loss as we know so many others are as well," the news station said. "Neena loved this community and the people who lived here. She was a kind person with a big heart and a contagious smile and we will miss her greatly."

Kaitlynn Pacholke, Neena’s sister, did not immediately respond to requests for comment from TODAY but said in a statement on Twitter her “baby sister is gone.”

“I just want to wake up from this living nightmare,” Kaitlynn wrote. “My heart is shattered into a million pieces and I know it will never be whole again. One day the words will come to me. But for now, I know she’s not in pain anymore and I am thankful for that.”

Kaitlynn told the Tampa Bay Times her sister had died by suicide.

"My sister was by far the happiest person I thought I knew," Kaitlynn told the Times, adding her sister was engaged. "Sometimes you just don’t know what people are going through, no matter how much you think you know someone ... My sister had access to every resource you could imagine," Kaitlynn said.

"She just radiated love and positivity, and she just cared so much about pouring into other people, and always put other people first," Kaitlynn continued. "I think she did that at the expense of not caring about herself."

Brendan Mackey, Pacholke's co-anchor, wrote in a Facebook post he had "never met anyone in my entire life that is more loved than this girl."

"Everyday she made people smile, whether that was through a tv screen or just being an incredible friend. She was so happy and so full of life and a role model. Neena was so talented," Mackey said. "Let’s remember Neena Pacholke for the beautiful person she was. The brightest light in the room. The biggest smile and the funniest laugh."

The University of South Florida women's basketball team, where Pacholke played as a point guard for three seasons, said in a statement the team was "heartbroken to learn of the sudden loss of our beloved former teammate."