Midwin Charles, the CNN and MSNBC analyst, has died at age 47. Tributes flowed in for Charles from heartbroken colleagues, fans, and loved ones, with MSNBC’s Joy Reid declaring herself “just stunned.”
“Midwin dear heart, you were a brilliant spirit and beautiful soul. You were such a blessing. I’m just stunned, and have been since I learned of this today. Blessings to your mom and family. To all, please live every moment like it’s your last, and OVER-appreciate your friends,” Reid wrote.
The tragic news was confirmed by Charles’ family.
A cause of death was not revealed. Charles lived in Brooklyn, New York, according to online records. Heavy has reached out to the medical examiner’s office to see if a cause of death is available; this story will be updated if a response is received. On March 19, Charles posted on Instagram that she wasn’t feeling well, although she didn’t specify the cause.
The next post on Charles’ Instagram page was a statement from her family announcing her death, which colleagues and friends indicated in multiple tribute posts was sudden and surprising to them.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Charles’ Family Wrote, ‘We Will Miss Her for a Lifetime’
— Midwin Charles, Esq. (@MidwinCharles) April 7, 2021
Charles’ family posted a statement on her Twitter page. It read:
“It is with a profoundly heavy heart and the deepest sadness that we announce the untimely passing of our beloved Midwin Charles. She was known to many as a legal commentator on television but to us she was a devoted daughter, sister, aunt, niece and cousin. Our lives are forever changed and we will miss her for a lifetime. The family thanks you in advance for your love and prayers. Please allow the family time to grieve.”
It was signed, “The Family of Midwin Charles.”
Charles’ last tweet came on March 24. Before that day, she posted many times per day, but the tweets abruptly stopped on that date. Her last tweet was a post about the suspect in the grocery store shooting in Colorado. Her second to last tweet was a retweet of a man’s warning that a second wave of COVID-19 was coming. She also retweeted posts about COVID-19 vaccine access, racism, and gun issues recently.
On March 19, she wrote, “When you see a Black lawyer today, you should know how many obstacles, trials, tribulations, and LAWS Black lawyers in the past had to overcome to make that Black lawyer possible today.” Earlier in the month, she wrote, “Police killings of innocent Black people costs cities & municipalities millions. But guess who pays? You, the taxpayer.” On March 1, she wrote about being vaccinated for COVID-19, writing, “Just got vaccinated (qualified because of my asthma) at a FEMA center. Everyone at the site is in uniform. It’s good to see our service men and women! Process was organized, efficient, and everyone is kind and in a good mood. Let’s do this!” She added, “I have a death causing allergy to peanuts and wanted to have my Epi pen with me when I got vaccinated in case I went into anaphylaxis shock. Turns out my “insurance” wouldn’t cover it and it’s $387????”
As noted, the cause of death has not been released and is unclear.
2. Loved Ones Posted Tributes on Social Media
Rest In Power Midwin Charles.
I’m absolutely stunned by the tragic news of her passing. So terribly sad. 💔 pic.twitter.com/yISpU7q9VF
— Michael Skolnik (@MichaelSkolnik) April 7, 2021
Tributes flowed in for Midwin Charles.
S. Anne Marie, a former law school classmate, wrote on Facebook, “Midwin was a Real One. She was authentic and unapologetically herself. She called it like she saw it and never minced words. And no matter how far she went she never changed. She was always the same Midwin to me. The same person I met in the hallway at law school who greeted me like she already knew me and announced ‘Hi I am Midwin Charles.’”
She added: “Losing her so soon is devastating and hurts like hell. But her life will to be measured in her contributions to social justice and the law and those are immense. She may have been short in years, she was 47, but her impact was far and wide reaching. I will carry her spirit with me everywhere I go and I will always remember her saying ‘cake gotta a bake’ meaning the work has to get done and you gotta hustle. And she was always the hardest worker. Always prepared always on her A game.”
“A fierce force of a woman,” Stephanie Ruhle said of Charles on the air on MSNBC, saying her “extraordinary life” was “cut too short.”
S.E. Cupp wrote, “This is shocking and heartbreaking and gut punching. What… a loss to us all, especially the women she fought tirelessly for. I’m speechless.”
Sophia Nelson wrote, “I just am sitting here in shock. @MidwinCharles was truly authentic, kind, smart, helpful always to her fellow sisters. 47. That’s years younger than me. Does anyone know what happened? Was she sick? This is just hard to take. My heart goes out to her mom and family. So sad.”
Author Pat G’Orge-Walker wrote on Facebook, “I feel as if I’ve been punched in the gut. The passing of Midwin Charles, Esq., has me in tears. We have lost a brave soldier of truth and an avid fighter for justice. I last heard from her on March 2nd comparing our Covid vaccination after effects. What a kind, brilliant and lovely person. RIP Midwin. My prayers are also for her beloved mother who gave so much joy through her observations of life. 2021 has me throwing up my hands as well as praying more.”
3. Charles Was an Attorney
According to her LinkedIn page, Charles was an “experienced attorney with a demonstrated history of working in the legal services industry. Skilled in Public Speaking, Television, Radio Host, Crisis Management, Civil Trials and Criminal Defense. Strong business development professional with a Juris Doctor focused in Law from American University, Washington College of Law.”
She was the managing principal at Midwin Charles & Associates LLC for 14 years, which she defined as a “boutique law firm offering full services in criminal defense, commercial and civil litigation.”
She was a contributor to Essence Magazine for more than five years and a guest host of a public affairs program on 107.5 WBLS called “Express Yourself” for more than 10 years.
4. Charles Was a Frequent Legal Analyst on Cable Television
— Stephanie Ruhle Reports (@RuhleOnMSNBC) April 7, 2021
Most people knew her as a television legal analyst.
“Provide regular legal, social and pop culture commentary on CNN, HLN, MSNBC, truTV, 107.5 WBLS, The FOX Business Network and WPIX. CNN shows include Anderson Cooper 360, Out Front with Erin Burnett, Early Start, News Hour. HLN shows include Nancy Grace, Showbiz Tonight, Jane Valez-Mitchell, The Joy Behar Show and Prime News,” her LinkedIn page explains, saying she held that role for more than 16 years.
She also listed herself as providing “legal commentary and analysis to live criminal trial coverage” for CNN.
5. Charles Was a Graduate of American University, Where She Worked on the Law Review
R.I.P. Midwin Charles
Absolutely devastating. 49 years young. A black woman who was a real force. Not just on television but in the real world. Fought the good fight, an incredible role model, and just watch how Midwin did her thing. Crushing.
— Don Lewis (@DonLew87) April 7, 2021
She had a law degree from American University, where she was articles editor of the law review. She had a bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University in international relations and African-American Studies.
She was on the dean’s list and spent a semester abroad in Zimbabwe.
Charles previously worked as a senior litigation associate for another law firm, a research fellow at Harvard La School and a law clerk to Judge Eric L. Clay, her LinkedIn page says.