NEW YORK (AP) – Mary Gay Taylor, a veteran City Hall reporter for WCBS-AM radio, died Friday at her home in Vermont, according to her family. She was 71. The cause was breast cancer, said Taylor’s sister, Peggy Boyle. The disease first appeared when Taylor was 49, but was in remission for 17 years.

In her more than 30-year career at WCBS, Taylor covered four New York City mayors, including Ed Koch, who served three terms, from 1978 to 1989.

“It was a delight to talk to her, and she was intelligent and responsible,” Koch told the station.

WCBS correspondent Richard Lamb called Taylor a dogged and fiercely accurate reporter who tripled-checked every detail.

She continued to work through her illness until her retirement in 2002.

“She died as she lived, with great courage and great grace,” Lamb said on the radio.

During the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Taylor rushed from City Hall to cover the disaster. When the second World Trade Center tower collapsed, she dove beneath a police vehicle to escape the falling rubble.

WCBS correspondent Irene Cornell said Taylor thought she had died.

“But she moved her hand and realized she was alive,” Cornell said. “She was pulled out by a police officer, but she ended up fighting with him because she left her tape recorder under the truck. He wouldn’t let her get it.”

Taylor walked back to the station’s headquarters, covered in ash, and the first thing she did was go on the air to tell her story.

“She apologized for losing her tape recorder. That was Mary Gay,” Cornell said. “She was a stoic. She never complained about anything.”

Taylor was divorced and lived in New York and Bondville, Vt. She had no children.


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