Radio Host Jeffrey Vandergrift's Wife Speaks Out After His Death: 'The Love Of My Life Is Gone'
"JV, my love, I will cherish the time we had together and will miss you until the day I see you again," Natasha Yi wrote in an emotional statement two days after the missing host was found dead
Radio host Jeffrey Vandergrift's wife shared an emotional tribute to her husband following his death.
A month after the WiLD 94.9 on-air personality went missing, officials and loved ones confirmed that his body was found on Wednesday afternoon.
Vandergrift's wife, Natasha Yi, who is also an on-air personality, opened up about her grief as she remembered her husband on Friday morning.
"I struggle to write this to you as I can barely breathe or see through the pain and tears. As many of you have already heard, the SFPD found JV," she wrote. "Every moment he was missing was agonizing for me. But the pain I feel now is something I have never felt before. My heart is crushed, and I cannot see myself ever moving forward, ever feeling joy or being at peace."
"Out of respect for JV and his entire family, I will not share too many details right now," she added.
Related:San Francisco Radio Host Jeffrey Vandergrift Found Dead a Month After He Went Missing
Yi went on to remember her husband for the things he loved the most, which included his family as well as his radio colleagues.
"I am devastated that the love of my life is gone. But what I do know is that JV loved his work and he loved connecting with all of you. He loved his family, and I know he loved me as much as I love him. Our bond was truly unmatched," she continued. "JV did not want to leave any of us."
"For now, I am with JV's family in mourning, and we all ask for privacy during this time. I know all of you cared for and loved JV, so please continue to keep him in your thoughts and prayers. Remember his laugh, kindness and the immense impact he had on many of you and our entire community," she added. "JV, my love, I will cherish the time we had together and will miss you until the day I see you again."
In another tribute, Vandergrift's radio station shared they "will always remember JV."
Alongside a video filled with clips from his show, the station reflected on how "every morning he made us laugh" and "was always filled with love."
"And throughout all his struggles, he still cared enough to share his pain and his hope with all of us," they added. "Thank you for everything, JV."
They ended the message by suggesting in the caption, "to learn more about the battle against Lyme disease please visit BayAreaLyme.org."
A spokesperson for the San Francisco Police Department told PEOPLE on Thursday a body was found in the water near Pier 39 just before 5 p.m. local time on Wednesday. There was "no evidence of foul play," they said.
The San Francisco Medical Examiner's Officer confirmed the WiLD 94.9 on-air personality's death to PEOPLE in a statement and said next of kin have been notified.
In a statement shared on social media, Vandergrift's radio station wrote they "are devastated to know now that JV is gone."
"Please keep his wife Natasha, his family, and close friends in your thoughts and prayers," they continued, adding in the caption, "JV, we will miss you. You are forever a Bay Area icon."
Related:Jeffrey Vandergrift's Colleagues Share Favorite Memories of Missing Radio Host
Vandergrift was last seen around 10 p.m. on Feb. 23, according to the San Francisco Police Department (SFDP).
In a statement shared the following week, Yi wrote that although her husband "officially" remained missing according to the SFPD, some "personal information" that had recently been discovered "leads us to believe JV will not be coming back."
"I know how painful this is for you to hear," Yi continued. "Please know that I have you in my thoughts."
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Vandergrift had previously opened up to listeners about his diagnosis of Lyme disease in 2021, and how in the months leading up to his diagnosis he experienced worsening symptoms, including headaches, dizziness, brain fog, depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts.
Just hours before he was last seen, he also gave a troubling update about his health on the air.
"The body and the pain and all that stuff, I can handle. What it's doing to my brain I could never describe to you," Vandergrift said during a show, adding that doctors told him they believed something might have "reignited" some of his old infections.
Addressing her husband's health in a statement earlier this month, Yi wrote that "the amount of compassion for the physical torture J has been going through for the past 2 years has been overwhelming."
"I have been in so much pain and fear and I know all of you have been so scared and concerned for JV as well," she shared.
A week before the news of Vandergrift's death, Yi shared a series of images of the pair, writing "I miss you."
"You are the love of my life," she wrote in the caption. "I will love you for eternity."
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741741 or go to 988lifeline.org.
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