Family, colleagues mourn death of beloved Vancouver broadcaster Kuljeet Kaila
Kaila, a radio news presenter at CBC, has died after a battle with brain cancer
It was sometime in the late 90s when Kulvir Kaila first heard his sister Kuljeet on the radio, and he remembers the thrill he felt in that moment like it was yesterday.
"It was so exciting to hear her voice. She was so polished already at such a young age," said Kulvir. "I'm like, her biggest fan."
Kuljeet, a Vancouver-based broadcaster who most recently worked for CBC News, went on to garner many fans inside and outside the newsroom as a fixture in the industry for many years. On Sunday, Sept. 10, 2023, she died after a battle with brain cancer.
In the wake of her death, social media has been flooded with tributes honouring Kuljeet's dedication to the people she loved and the work that she did.
Born in Mackenzie, B.C., on March 6, 1977, Kuljeet knew by high school graduation that she wanted to work in media, said her brother, who considered this a trail-blazing move for an Indo-Canadian girl from a small northern community.
"She followed her dreams. She followed her heart," said Kulvir.
WATCH | Kaila's brother, Kulvir, remembers his sister:
During her career, Kuljeet worked for many B.C. productions, including News 1130, CTV Vancouver, Shaw Cable and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, where she could be heard as a radio news presenter and seen as a television weather reporter.
No words to describe the loss of <a href="https://twitter.com/KuljeetKaila?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@KuljeetKaila</a>. She was so strong and optimistic. Last time I saw her she talked of renting a stretch limo to celebrate once she beat cancer. She loved her nephews/nieces, her family, living by the water, she loved NYC. To know her was a joy. 💔 <a href="https://t.co/6uHcI8u1pV">pic.twitter.com/6uHcI8u1pV</a>—@Tarnjitkparmar
💔 Kuljeet Kaila lit up every room, she knew everyone + everyone loved her. I’m grateful for our conversations + devastated I won’t see you again KK. Rest in power. All my love to Kuljeet’s dear family. <a href="https://t.co/GqlI4ue7vn">pic.twitter.com/GqlI4ue7vn</a>—@tamarataggart
You lived big and loved big, my dear big sister <a href="https://twitter.com/KuljeetKaila?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@KuljeetKaila</a> When we spoke last week, you promised you’d be there when I return from holidays. I’m not ready to let you go. 💔 A credit to your craft, a true friend, and an incredible aunt. You were that and so much more. Rest now. <a href="https://t.co/48IVYAkA9i">pic.twitter.com/48IVYAkA9i</a>—@Zahra_Premji
Johnny Michel, senior managing director at CBC British Columbia and Alberta, described Kuljeet as a kind, warm person with a terrific presence both on and off the air who will be immensely missed.
"She brought a bright light to our newsroom, and not only is this a huge loss to CBC, but it is also a huge loss to the media industry," said Michel.
"Her voice connected with people, and her passing will be felt not only by audiences but also by the close teams and colleagues she worked with at CBC."
Colleagues past and present have echoed this sentiment across social media. B.C. Premier David Eby also publicly thanked Kuljeet for her contributions to journalism.
This is heartbreaking news. My condolences go out to <a href="https://twitter.com/KuljeetKaila?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@KuljeetKaila</a>’s family and loved ones. This is truly a huge loss to BC’s broadcasting community. Thank you for your hard work and years of dedication. <a href="https://t.co/vooVwwQW0s">https://t.co/vooVwwQW0s</a>—@Dave_Eby
CTV Morning Live host Keri Adams posted that news of Kuljeet's death might break her, calling her former colleague a beautiful, kind soul who will live on in people's hearts as "an eternal source of inspiration and a poignant reminder of the preciousness of each fleeting moment."
CBC News anchor and reporter Dan Burritt also expressed his love and condolences online, remembering Kuljeet as "a fabulous friend, aunt, colleague, and a credit to our craft."
Kuljeet is survived by her parents and Kulvir — her only sibling.
Kulvir said the family is incredibly touched by the outpouring of love online and spent Sunday night reading every message. He said the loved ones his sister leaves behind are incredibly proud of the role model that she was.
"As we look back, I truly believe she lived a beautiful life," said Kulvir.
With files from B.C. Today