An autopsy has been completed on KTLA5 weekend anchor Chris Burrous, who was found unconscious in a Glendale motel room and later pronounced dead at a hospital, but a cause of death has not yet been determined.
“A cause of death was deferred pending further investigation,” Sarah Ardalani of the coroner’s office said Friday. It often takes several weeks to get the results of toxicology tests.
Saturday’s KTLA’s morning newscast marked the first weekend without Burrous and was dedicated to his memory as his tearful co-anchors shared clips and memories. Early on, a representative of the Torrance Rose Float Association announced plans to include a remembrance of the veteran anchor on its float during the New Year’s Day parade, an event Burrous was scheduled to help cover.
Richard Stellar, a guest blogger for TheWrap.com entertainment news website was among those who continue to post tributes, photos and other commemorations online.
“He would bond with people — returning military veterans, parents of ill children, immigrants,” Stellar wrote under the headline “Why I’ll Miss KTLA’s Citizen Journalist.” “His microphone, when angled in the direction of his subject, was like a bridge of tolerance and understanding.”
Police were contacted at 1:15 p.m. Thursday by a caller who said a man he was with at the Days Inn, 450 Pioneer Drive, had passed out and was possibly not breathing, according to Sgt. Dan Suttles of the Glendale Police Department.
A dispatcher gave the man instructions on how to perform CPR and he was attempting to administer emergency aid when firefighters arrived, Suttles said.
Glendale firefighters found Burrous, 43, inside the motel room, not breathing, Suttles said. They administered CPR and he was taken to a hospital, where he died.
The original call to police stated Burrous may have overdosed, but detectives will await the Los Angeles County coroner’s office final report for a determination of the cause of death, Suttles said.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Burrous family,” KTLA President/General Manager Don Corsini and news director Jason Ball said in a joint statement.
“Chris loved sharing the stories of Southern California and connecting with our viewers. He will be remembered as a great journalist and a wonderful friend to many. He brought a kindness to his work and will be deeply missed by the entire KTLA family.”
His weekend co-anchor, Lynette Romero, tweeted a picture taken of herself and Burrous smiling on set, with a Christmas tree in the background.
“There are no words,” Romero wrote. “When we took this picture during our show I had no idea it would our last time together. You made me laugh until I cried. My tears now are for your sweet little girl, your wife Mai and your dear parents. We will miss you so…”
Weekday morning news anchor Megan Henderson wrote on Twitter, “We are all so shocked and saddened by this tragic news. Please keep his beloved daughter, wife and parents in your prayers.”
Henderson’s co-anchor, Chris Schauble, tweeted, “Right now he’s telling the angels where to find the best food. Rest easy brother.”
KTLA entertainment anchor Sam Rubin tweeted his condolences, calling Burrous’ death, “heartbreaking and horrible.”
“What Chris Burrous did was connect — with all of us, every day, and most especially on the weekends” Rubin said. “He deeply loved his wife and his daughter; and all of you who watched him. A large community is in mourning.”
Burrous is survived by his wife of 15 years, Mai Do-Burrous, and their 9-year-old daughter, Isabella.
He graduated from Chapman University in Orange with a degree in broadcast journalism and began a two-decade career in news starting at KCKC-AM and KCXX-FM in San Bernardino while he was still in school.
He moved on to KNTV-TV and KLIV-AM in San Jose, then KEVN-TV in Rapid City, South Dakota. He joined KGET in Bakersfield in 1999 as a morning news anchor.
Burrous’ career led him to KGPE in Fresno, KMAX in Sacramento and KTLA sister station WPIX in New York City. He told the New York Daily News he asked for a transfer to Los Angeles so his daughter could grow up near her grandparents, according to Channel 5.
Burrous was credited with helping extend the “KTLA Morning News” to seven days a week, anchoring weekends and covering breaking news on weekday mornings, according to the station.
His weekend “Burrous’ Bites” segments, which highlighted hole-in-the-wall eateries in Southern California, were a viewer favorite.
No funeral arrangements have been announced.