Friday, June 13, 2008

Tim Russert is dead

The New York Post reports the Meet the Press host died of an apparent heart attack.

Tim Russert, NBC journalist and political heavyweight host of "Meet the Press," has died after collapsing at NBC's Washington news bureau, a source said. He was 58 years old.

Russert, who rose from the inside world of politics where he was former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo's press secretary and one-time chief of staff to the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, was able to successfully cross over to political journalism and rise to become one of its leading lights.
Our condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues.


From the New York Times:

Tom Brokaw, the former anchor of NBC Nightly News, came on the air at 3:39 p.m. and reported that Mr. Russert had collapsed and died early this afternoon while at work. He had just returned from Italy with his family.

“Our beloved colleague,” a grave Mr. Brokaw called him, one of the premier journalists of our time. He said this was one of the most important years in his life, with his deep engagement in the network’s political coverage, and that he “worked to the point of exhaustion.” Mr. Brokaw said Mr. Russert was a true child of Buffalo and always stayed in touch with his blue collar roots and “the ethos of that community.”

He said Mr. Russert had just moved his father, who is in his late 80s, from one facility to another in Buffalo. He said he loved his family, his Catholic faith, his country, politics, the Buffalo Bills, the New York Yankees and the Washington Nationals.

“This news division will not be the same without his strong, clear voice,” Mr. Brokaw said.

After Mr. Brokaw made the announcement, the network switched to Brian Williams, the anchor of the NBC News, who is reporting from Afghanistan this week. Mr. Williams broke down as he tried to describe what the loss meant to his network family.

The network is struggling through shock and grief to bring the story of Mr. Russert’s life and journalistic achievements to its viewers immediately. Andrea Mitchell is describing him as “the pre-eminent journalist of our time” and said he was her mentor.
How painful for these people who worked with Russert to have to manage their initial grief on live television. Goodness.

Photograph by Flickr user hyku

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