Tim Russert, NBC News’ Washington bureau chief and a contributor to MSNBC, died Friday of heart failure in Washington.
Russert died of a heart attack in the bureau, while recording voiceovers for the June 15 edition of NBC's Meet The Press, of which he served as the moderator. He was 58.
Russert, an Emmy-winning and much-respected TV journalist, joined NBC News in 1984, coming to the news organization after serving as a counselor in the New York Gov. Mario Cuomo’s office in Albany in 1983 and 1984.
In addition to his duties at NBC News and Meet The Press, Russert also anchored a weekend program for MSNBC, The Tim Russert Show, and contributed political coverage to the cable service. For example, Russert helped moderate a Democratic presidential debate in February in Cleveland that broke ratings records for MSNBC, drawing 7.8 million viewers.
"This is a loss for the entire nation. Everyone at NBC News is in shock and absolutely devastated," said NBC News president Steve Capus in a statement. "He was our respected colleague, mentor, and dear friend. Words can not express our heartbreak. Our thoughts and prayers are with Maureen, Luke, Big Russ and all of Tim’s family."
Added NBCU president and CEO Jeff Zucker: "We are heartbroken at the sudden passing of Tim Russert. We have lost a beloved member of our NBC Universal family and the news world has lost one of its finest. The enormity of this loss cannot be overstated. More than a journalist, Tim was a remarkable family man. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Maureen, their son, Luke, and Tim’s entire extended family."
Former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw came on NBC's air Friday afternoon at 3:39 p.m. (ET) to say that Russert had collapsed and died at work. Russert had returned from a recent trip to Italy.
Russert was slated to receive the Fred Dressler Lifetime Achievement Award from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications June 23.
The veteran political analyst and author became managing editor and moderator of NBC’s Meet the Press in 1991, leading the show to its perch as the most-watched Sunday morning interview show in America.
He won an Emmy in 2005 for this role in the coverage of the funeral of President Ronald Reagan.
This year, Time magazine named Russert one of the 100 most influential people in the world.
His two books, Big Russ and Me and Wisdom of Our Fathers, were both New York Times bestsellers.
Russert was born May 7, 1950, in Buffalo, N.Y. He was a graduate of John Carroll University and the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, admitted to the bar in New York and the District of Columbia.
His March 2000 interview of Sen. John McCain shared the 2001 Edward R. Murrow Award for Overall Excellence in Television Journalism.