Deborah Roberts Announces Death of Her 'Warm and Inspirational' Sister After Battle with Dementia

·3 min read

Deborah Roberts is mourning the loss of her eldest sister, Annette.

The ABC News correspondent, 61, announced her sister's death on social media Tuesday. In a statement on Twitter, Roberts said Annette died following a battle with dementia, which she referred to as "a despicable disease."

"So very sad to lose my oldest sister, Annette," she wrote beside a photo of the pair together. "She was a warm and inspirational presence in my life."

"Dementia claimed her [life] as it does more than 200 thousand Americans each year. A despicable disease which I hope we will find a cure for one day," she added.

Roberts also penned a lengthier tribute to her late sister on Instagram, in which she spoke about Annette's life and legacy, as well as the things that she loved most about her.

"We have lost the glow of a warm light in my family," she began beside two throwback pictures of her sibling. "My oldest sister, Annette, has left us. She struggled against Alzheimer's for 5-6 years before succumbing to complications which robbed her of everything that made her so special. I hate this disease."

Deborah Roberts Announces Her 'Warm and Inspirational' Sister Has Died of 'Despicable Disease' Dementia
Deborah Roberts Announces Her 'Warm and Inspirational' Sister Has Died of 'Despicable Disease' Dementia

twitter Deborah Roberts with her sister Annette

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"Annette was my role model as I grew up," she continued. "She was the first in our family to go to college. And she always managed to look like a movie star to me. I owe my love of high fashion to her. (Or I blame her for it)."

Roberts went on to recall how her sister got a job while attending Fort Valley State College, which allowed her to eventually buy "the most beautiful ready to wear clothing at a high end shop in our town called Vanity Fair."

"I'd never seen such lovely dresses, scarves, or shoes," Roberts noted. "Annette was always the picture of elegance. And she was a stickler for order and tidiness."

Deborah Roberts Announces Her 'Warm and Inspirational' Sister Has Died of 'Despicable Disease' Dementia
Deborah Roberts Announces Her 'Warm and Inspirational' Sister Has Died of 'Despicable Disease' Dementia

Deborah Roberts/instagram Deborah Roberts and her sister Annette

The journalist then went on to discuss her sister's life accomplishments, including how she worked as an account executive, lived in Germany for several years while her husband was stationed in the Air Force and eventually relocated her family to "a beautiful home" in Houston, Texas.

"I marveled at her worldliness as she began to travel," wrote Roberts, who is married to Today's Al Roker. "She even gave me and all the sibs a set of luggage when we graduated HS. Maybe a nudge which I gladly took."

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"She was always a bit reserved and held her emotions in check but she was passionate about her son Justin, her husband Richard and all of her family," Roberts added. "Her granddaughter, Alana stole her heart."

In a touching conclusion, Roberts said of her sister, "Annette was a pragmatic and strong woman who believed in possibilities. While I'm relieved that her suffering has ended, I will miss her fiercely."

Roberts also shared several photos of her sister through the years on her Instagram Story, including one of them hugging during their "last visit" together.

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Annette's death comes five months after Roberts lost another beloved member of her family.

In February, the ABC journalist revealed on social media that her "gentle and kind" brother-in-law Lawrence Clarington had died unexpectedly.

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