Updated at: 02/26/2013 11:08 PM
(AP) BALTIMORE - Mary J. Corey, the first woman to hold the top editorial post at The Baltimore Sun, died Tuesday of breast cancer. She was 49.
The paper reported the news of Corey’s death on its website Tuesday night.
Corey was named senior vice president and director of content at the Tribune-owned paper in 2010, overseeing all print and digital news operations. She was the first woman to hold the post in The Sun’s 176-year history.
Corey joined The Sun in 1987 as an editorial assistant and was quickly promoted to features writer. She later served as assistant national editor and national correspondent. She held various editing roles in the features department from 1998 to 2003, and then was promoted to assistant managing editor for features.
In 2009, she was appointed head of print. That same year, the newspaper went through a severe round of layoffs as parent Tribune Co. was going through bankruptcy.
After she ascended to the paper’s top newsroom job, The Sun was named Newspaper of the Year and best website by the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association.
Sun Publisher Timothy Ryan praised Corey as "a friend and mentor to many here" and as an "extraordinary leader," according to the newspaper.
"Amid an unprecedented information revolution, Mary used her leadership and creativity to position The Sun for the future," Ryan said. "She was exceptionally adept at driving the vital work of the newsroom while embracing opportunities for growth in the digital age."
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake praised Corey in a statement Tuesday night.
"As the first female leader of the Baltimore Sun newsroom, Mary Corey was a trailblazer in her profession and was admired by many," the mayor said. "I was very saddened to learn of her death following a heroic battle against breast cancer. Mary Corey was committed to the Baltimore region, and was one of the few editors of a major metropolitan newspaper to have the unique opportunity to lead her hometown paper that she grew-up reading."
Colleagues remembered Corey’s personal warmth as well as her dedication to newspapering.
"I will always remember Mary Corey’s exceeding sense of dignity and grace," former Sun reporter Tanika Davis wrote in a Facebook post. "In this era of constant emoting and public oversharing, her way seemed almost from another time."
Corey was born in New York and moved to the Baltimore area as a child, according to the newspaper. She attended the College of Notre Dame of Maryland, graduating Magna Cum Laude in 1985.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)