12/03/2012 07:43 EST | Updated 02/02/2013 05:12 EST

Long-time Montreal broadcaster mourned

Longtime Montreal radio broadcaster Kathy Coulombe has died.

Coulombe's voice was familiar to many after more than 30 years reading newscasts on Montreal's CHOM-FM and CJAD. She later worked as a researcher for Radio-Canada International's program The Link.

Coulombe, remembered by friends as a private person who had an immense love for animals, had been suffering from cancer for some time. Her death on Friday came as a shock to many of her former colleagues.

Tributes to Coulombe poured in on social media, where she was remembered as a consummate professional.

"Kathy was always helpful and full of advice," says CBC Montreal assignment editor Kristy Rich who was fresh out of university when she worked with Coulombe at CJAD from 2000-2008. "She was such a machine on the news desk and so professional dealing with breaking news. I learned a lot from her."

"She was a true kindred spirit and after all is said and done, one of the most kind hearted people I have ever met." said former CJAD technical operator Howie Silberger.

"I had the incredible privilege of working with her at RCI for the last few years. And I've never seen anyone more dedicated and courageous in the face of a deadly illness," said Levon Sevunts who worked with her on The Link. "I'll miss her animal story pitches. There wasn't a morning story meeting when Kathy didn't pitch some kind of a story having to do with animals or the environment."

After interviewing him on air, former colleague Father John Walsh remembered the late provincial Liberal leader Claude Ryan asking to meet Coulombe.

"I can still see the shock on Kathy's face," Walsh said on Facebook.

CHOM host Rob Kemp recalled Coulombe was one of the first people he worked with when he started at CJAD.

"She was a true professional newscaster that was proud of her craft and did things the 'old school' way," he wrote. "Moreover, she was a kindred soul who always had a smile, a kind word and a positive attitude."

According to Coulombe's wishes, there will be no funeral.

She was 56.