Tim Russert, host of NBC’s Meet the Press, has died. Russert reportedly collapsed at work and appears to have died from a heart attack.
Russert was recording voiceovers for Sunday’s “Meet the Press” broadcast when he collapsed, the network said.
He had recently returned from Italy, where his family was celebrating the graduation of Russert’s son, Luke, from Boston College.
Russert was also a political analyst for NBC Nightly News and the Today show.
MSNBC’s coverage can be viewed here.
-from presumptive Democratic Presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama:
I considered him not only a journalist but a friend. There wasn’t a better interviewer on television, a more thoughtful analysts about politics.” He was “one of the finest men I know.
“I am grief-stricken with loss and my thoughts and prayers go out to his family.” (Washington Post)
-from presumptive GOP nominee Sen. John McCain:
I am very saddened by Tim Russert’s sudden death…Cindy and I extend our thoughts and prayers to the Russert family as they cope with this shocking loss and remember the life and legacy of a loving father, husband and the preeminent political journalist of his generation.
He was truly a great American who loved his family, his friends, his Buffalo Bills, and everything about politics and America. He was just a terrific guy. I was proud to call him a friend, and in the coming days, we will pay tribute to a life whose contributions to us all will long endure.
-from The Buffalo News (Russert’s hometown newspaper)
-Russert was a board member of Major League Baseball’s Hall of Fame
-from MSNBC @ 2:17pm PST: “…an autopsy is underway.”
-Sen. Joe Lieberman on Tim Russert:
He was Explainer in Chief of our political life.
-Andrea Mitchell of NBC News:
Tim was our friend, our leader, our cheerleader, our teacher, my mentor.
-from President George W. Bush
Laura and I are deeply saddened by the sudden passing of Tim Russert. Those of us who knew and worked with Tim, his many friends, and the millions of Americans who loyally followed his career on the air will all miss him.
As the longest-serving host of the longest-running program in the history of television, he was an institution in both news and politics for more than two decades. Tim was a tough and hardworking newsman. He was always well-informed and thorough in his interviews. And he was as gregarious off the set as he was prepared on it.
Most important, Tim was a proud son and father, and Laura and I offer our deepest sympathies to his wife Maureen, his son Luke, and the entire Russert family. We will keep them in our prayers.
-Transcript of the initial NBC News coverage of Russert’s passing:
I’m Tom Brokaw, NBC News. And it’s my sad duty to report
this afternoon that my friend and colleague, Tim Russert, the moderator of “MEET
THE PRESS” and NBC’s Washington Bureau Chief, collapsed and died early this
afternoon while at work in the NBC news bureau in Washington. Tim had just
returned from a family trip to Italy with his wife, Maureen Orth, the writer,
and his son, Luke. They were celebrating Luke’s graduation from Boston College
just this spring. Tim, of course, has been the host of “MEET THE PRESS” longer
than any other person in that long-running television broadcast. He has been a
very familiar face on this network and throughout the world of political
journalism as one of the premier political analysts and journalists of his time.
Tim, 58-years-old, grew up in Buffalo and he wrote a No. 1 best selling “New
York Times” book called, “Big Russ and Me,” about his childhood and especially
about his relationship with his father, big Russ. That was followed by another
No. 1 “New York Times” best seller called, “The Wisdom of our Fathers.” That
book was inspired by the many letters that he received from other children
talking about their relationship with their fathers.
This was one of the most important years in Tim’s life for so many reasons. He
loved this political campaign. He worked to the point of exhaustion so many
weeks, not just on “MEET THE PRESS,” but on MSNBC, and with our colleague, Brian
Williams, of course, during the debates and on “Special Coverage” on NBC Nightly
Tim was a true child of Buffalo and the blue collar roots in which he was
raised. For all of his success, he was always in touch with the ethos of that
community. Just last week, he was back in Buffalo moving his father from his
home to another facility. His father now in his late 80s. Big Russ, it goes
without saying, our heart goes out to him and all members of Tim’s family.
Tim loved his family, his faith, his country, politics. He loved the Buffalo
Bills, the New York Yankees and the Washington Nationals.
He of course had season tickets to that team when they moved to Washington. We
will have additional details throughout the evening here on NBC News and MSNBC,
Brian Williams will have continuing coverage.
But to repeat, our beloved colleague, one of the premier journalists of our
time, Tim Russert, died this afternoon after collapsing at work at the NBC News
bureau in Washington, D.C. And I think I can invoke personal privilege to say
that this news division will not be the same without his strong, clear voice.
He will be missed as he was loved, greatly.
I’m Tom Brokaw, NBC News in New York.