Diane Sawyer is mourning the loss of her mother, Jean Sawyer Hayes, this week after the beloved matriarch passed away at age 94.
According to multiple reports, Jean, a civic leader and former elementary school teacher, died Wednesday, Oct. 22, in Diane's hometown of Louisville, Ky.
In a brief interview this morning, the 68-year-old journalist remarked that her mother was a force of nature, optimistic, spunky and energetic — qualities that served her well while working with young children.
"Her students by the hundreds were jolted into the possibilities of their lives," Diane said. "She was a pioneering spirit."
"She was really the center of our lives," Diane's older sister, Linda Sawyer Frankel, said of their mother. "She was so capable and concerned, and really devoted to her family."
The former ABC World News anchor has reportedly already traveled to Kentucky to attend a small family memorial service being held this weekend for her late mother.
"Her ABC family will embrace her when she returns," President of ABC News James Goldston said of his colleague's loss.
The Courier-Journal first reported this story.