Florida News Anchor, Todd Tongen, Committed Suicide Believing he Had Aggressive Form of Dementia That Took his Mother’s Life

Todd Tongen (Credit: LOCAL 10)
Todd Tongen (Credit: LOCAL 10)

Longtime Miami reporter and anchor Todd Tongen died by suicide at the age 56, according to his brother and the station he worked at for three decades.

Just two days after announcing that Emmy Award-winning journalist, who worked at WPLG Local 10 News for 30 years, was found dead in his home, the ABC affiliate confirmed his cause of death on Wednesday.

According to the outlet, his wife was on vacation in Italy with their younger son and unable to reach her husband. She asked a friend to check on Tongen; police were eventually called and the reporter was found dead on Monday morning.

The news came as a shock to many that knew him, including his brother Dr. Scott Tongen, who told the outlet that he had no idea Todd was struggling.

“I don’t really think he was thinking about ending his life, as far as I know,” he told Local 10, noting that Todd had upcoming plans for a trip to Las Vegas and Canada. “But there was clearly something that was bothering him.”

“He left some garbled messages that we haven’t seen yet, but there was a simple note that said he was lost and to forgive him,” Tongen added.

Though his death was unexpected, Scott said he believed his brother suffered from a looming fear of dying from Lewy Body Dementia (LBD), a progressive disease that also took their mother’s life in August 2017.

“I’m convinced that he thought he had it,” Tongen told Local 10, saying his brother had been having some balance issues which their mother experienced at the inset of the disease. “Whether there was conclusive evidence or not, I think he thought he had it, and that may have been enough.”

LBD is the same disease Robin Williams was suffering from before he died of suicide in August 2014 at age 63, according to his widow Susan Williams.

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