Watch Live: Funeral Services for Elizabeth Brackett

Funeral services start at 1 p.m. Wednesday. Find details about the Kenilworth funeral here.

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Family and friends are mourning the loss of Elizabeth Brackett, the award-winning journalist and world champion triathlete who died Sunday from injuries sustained one week ago while riding her bicycle.

Brackett’s death was ruled an accident by the Cook County medical examiner’s office Tuesday. She had been cycling along the lakefront path near 39th Street Beach last Wednesday morning when she apparently fell from her bike. Exactly what happened is not clear – there are no known witnesses – but the incident left Brackett in a coma with at least one broken vertebra in her neck.

Following the accident, good Samaritans came to Brackett’s aid at the scene, giving her CPR, calling 911 and guiding police and paramedics to the site.

To those who helped, Brackett’s daughter Ilsa Wallich says “thank you.” Their actions “really gave us a chance to let her go,” she said. “All of our family members were able to get here for the most part. We knew that it was a bad situation … it made it OK to let her go. She was doing what she loved.”

Remembered for both her journalistic and athletic prowess, Brackett, who for two decades served as host and correspondent for “Chicago Tonight” on WTTW, was recognized with multiple Emmy Awards during her 40-year career, among other honors. She also won five international triathlon titles in her age group, including one in Rotterdam last year.

Brackett is survived by her husband Peter Martinez, daughter Ilsa Wallich, married to Dennis; son Jon Brackett, married to Laura; step children Lisa Nuzzo, Stephanie Martinez, Jonathan Martinez, Matthew Martinez; sisters Ellen Rieger, married to George, and Jill Swisher, married to Thane; 10 grandchildren; and six nieces and nephews.

Donations can be made in Brackett’s name to the Chicago Foundation for Women and Save the Dunes.

Read our full Elizabeth Brackett obituary here. Find Brackett’s “Chicago Tonight” stories here – including a piece she reported earlier this month.


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