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Top Fox producer dies from coronavirus

New York (CNN Business)Eric Spinato, the head booker and senior story editor for the Fox Business Network, died over the weekend, the network said Monday. Spinato's brother, Dean, wrote on social media that the cause of death had been the coronavirus. "COVID took my brother today," he wrote. "He was a gem and one of a kind. I'm so broken and lost for words." Spinato worked at Fox for nearly 20 years. He joined the network in 1998, before briefly leaving in 2004 to work at CNN and MSNBC. He returned to Fox in 2007 and worked at the company ever since, working primarily with Maria Bartiromo. Fox Business host David Asman reported on Spinato's death Monday afternoon. In a memo sent to employees Monday, Fox News Media CEO Suzanne Scott, Fox News president Jay Wallace, and Fox Business president Lauren Petterson said Spinato's contributions to the company "were immeasurable." "Eric was an immensely gifted and aggressive booker and was renowned for booking the innumerable 'gets' we've seen on both FNC and FBN over the years," they wrote. "He was also always willing to lend a hand to help a colleague, mentor union staffers or troubleshoot an issue — countless bookers throughout the industry learned the ropes and the tools of the trade from Eric at one point or another in their careers." "His excitement, positivity and energetic team spirit were one of a kind and will be greatly missed," Scott, Wallace, and Petterson added. "Our heartfelt condolences go out to Eric's entire family, including his two sons and his girlfriend." Spinato is one of several prominent news staffers to die from the coronavirus. A longtime NBC employee died last March, as did a CBS News executive. Since the outset of the pandemic, Fox has downplayed the severity of the coronavirus. The network's hosts have peddled misinformation about the virus and railed against restrictions put into place to protect public health. While Fox did air a Sunday night special in February devoted to the vaccines, the network's top host, Tucker Carlson, has most recently used his nightly show to undermine public confidence in the vaccines. Fox as a company, however, has taken precautions to protect its employees, following CDC protocols for mask-wearing and social distancing. Lachlan Murdoch, the chief executive of Fox Corporation, said in a memo recently that staffers should not expect to return to work until after Labor Day.

Story Credit: Oliver Darcy and CNN Business

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