How did Ayesha Faines die? 'The Grapevine' host's friends pay tribute to 'a bright light'

How did Ayesha Faines die? 'The Grapevine' host's friends pay tribute to 'a bright light'
Ayesha Faines was best known for being a featured panelist on The Grapevine Show' (Instagram/ayeshakfaines)

Former traffic anchor and journalist Ayesha K Faines died on Friday, July 2, at the age of 35. A panelist on ‘The Grapevine’ and the founder of Women Love Power, an educational platform designed to “catapult world-class women to success with smart, thought-provoking content" and more, Faines’ death has been mourned by many. 

Filmmaker Ashley Akunna, who serves as the host and creator of ‘The Grapevine’, wrote on Twitter: “I remember the day I met Ayesha. I was 14 years old and she was so happy and so bubbly, I couldn’t help but ask my sister, ‘Who is that girl?’ Years later we connected over a project I was working on called, The Grapevine. I knew she would be perfect for the show.” She also said, “Ayesha was a force on the show and in real life. Often counseling me both personally and professionally when life became too much. She always reminded me that optimism is the key to get through any situation.”


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Apart from Faines, several other journalists have lost their lives in the past few years such as Robert KekaulaPedro Gomez, Christopher Sign and Jenny Lenzini.

Doug Rubenstein, a friend and fellow ‘The Grapevine’ panelist, told People magazine, "She was just good -- good-hearted, good-natured, good to talk to, good to work with. We're all just like, 'Why her, why Ayesha?' If you met her you loved her, and anyone who doesn't know her should." 

WJXT anchor Melanie Lawson said, “Ayesha was such a bright light. She was so young when she came to News4Jax but very intelligent and mature beyond her years. When she spoke it was like listening to poetry. I was always so proud of her accomplishments after she left the station. Ayesha was also a fierce supporter of women. She never said a disparaging word about any woman so I wasn’t surprised to see her use her voice for women’s rights. She was a wonderful friend and journalist. This news is just devastating. My heart is broken for her family. I know she meant the world to them. I’ll never forget how her father lit up when he talked about his baby girl. I can’t imagine the pain they feel.”  Faines was formerly an anchor at WJXT. Faines worked for WJXT 4 in 2008 and My9TV/FOX in the New York City market. 

Her close friend and collaborator Uchechi Chinyere wrote: “I am lost. I am unable to comprehend that I must find words to articulate your absence in the physical realm. I am unable to comprehend that our spirits can only speak through prayer and in dreams.”


She further said, “How do we begin to tell the word who Ayesha is, what she meant, where she came from, and where she was going? I am so grateful I was able to ask you so you could share with the world in your own words. You were too big, too grand for this limited space. You are synonymous with legacy and icon. That is to be celebrated for the rest of time. The love my heart holds for you is immeasurable.”

How did Ayesha Faines die? 

The cause of her death has not been revealed as of yet. But WJXT, a television network where Faines used to work, reported that she died “unexpectedly”. reported that she died in New Jersey -- Faines reportedly lived in South Orange, New Jersey. “I can confirm that she did pass away in Essex County,” the woman who answered the phone at the Essex County Medical Examiner’s Office told, but she wouldn’t release the cause of death or any other details. 

Faines established Women Love Power in 2015. She earned her bachelor's degree from Yale University in Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations. Of the many things that Faines often talked about, “feminine power” was a common theme. She also spoke about archetypal mythology, gender politics, and intersectionality.

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