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Ruth Spencer, the Emmy Award-winning WDIV anchor and “Ruth to the Rescue” reporter, will retire at the end of the year, the station announced Wednesday.

“I’ve been in television news since 1981, spending the last 25 years here at Local 4,” said Spencer in a statement. “I’ve felt privileged to serve our loyal viewers as a nightly news anchor and as the consumer investigator, heading up the ‘Ruth to the Rescue’ unit.”

Spencer will sign off in December and retire to Longboat Key, Florida, where she and her husband have been building a house.

The anchor had to take two-and-a-half months off last fall after she fainted in a store. She went through a series of tests to try to figure out what was wrong. A stroke was ruled out, but doctors were unable to pinpoint exactly the cause of her collapse.

In a special report that ran on WDIV and clickondetroit.com, Spencer said: “The cardiologist says, ‘Well, I’d like to be able to give you a ‘eureka’ diagnosis, but frankly, I don’t have that for you. We know what it is not. We didn't see a brain tumor; it’s not epilepsy; it’s not something —a mini stroke —it’s not this, it’s not that, et cetera, et cetera,” Spencer said.

“It’s a mystery, and that I do not like,” she said. “I didn’t have the answer that I needed, and I feel like I need that answer because I’m a person who likes to be in control.”

The California native started in broadcast journalism at KPIX in San Francisco, then moved to KRON. Her first on-air job was at KRDO in Colorado Springs. She moved on to KATV in Little Rock, Ark., then anchored at KSTP in Minneapolis/St. Paul.

She was hired at WDIV in 1990 to anchor the early evening newscast, and currently anchors the station’s “First at 4” by herself, and “Local 4 News at 5:30” with Devin Scillian, as well as doing her “Ruth to the Rescue” reports.

Spencer is married to a Detroit attorney and has a daughter who will be a sophomore at the University of Michigan in the fall.

“When Ruth came to me to say that she wanted to retire, I was both sad for the station and happy for her,” Marla Drutz, Local 4 vice president and general manager, said in a statement. “She is a viewer favorite and has genuine concern for the people of this community. We will truly miss her.”

swhitall@detroitnews.com

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