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Microsoft PR legend Pam Edstrom dies at 71

Pam Edstrom spent three decades guiding communications for the tech giant.

Melissa Waggener Zorkin (right) paid tribute to partner Pam Edstrom (left) on the agency's website.
WE Communications/Screenshot by CNET

Pam Edstrom, a guiding figure in how Microsoft communicated to the public, died Wednesday at the age of 71. She had lung cancer.

In 1982, Edstrom joined Microsoft as public relations director. Though she only stayed there two years, her relationship with Microsoft carried on. She was partner and co-founder of public relations agency Waggener Edstrom, which still handles communications for the tech giant today as WE Communications.

"Pam will always stand for what is good and right as the consummate truth teller," said Edstrom's partner Melissa Waggener Zorkin in a post on the WE website.

"First as an employee and then as a key partner, Pam was a huge part of the Microsoft family, and she will be missed," Frank X. Shaw, corporate vice president of Microsoft corporate communications told CNET. "Through her energy, ideas, sense of humor and persistence, she helped tell the Microsoft story to the world."

Edstrom, originally from Minneapolis, studied sociology and theater at the University of Minnesota, according to her LinkedIn page.

Her first job in technology was as public relations manager at Tektronix in Beaverton, Oregon. Only three years later, she was off to Microsoft.

WE Communications has grown from four people to 700, with 18 offices, and clients like Coca Cola, Morgan Stanley, Volvo and even bourbon maker Woodford Reserve. Edstrom was named one of PRWeek's 100 most influential PR people of the 20th century.

According to Edstrom's bio page on the WE website, when she wasn't working she was "in the kitchen, creating."

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