Veteran news man, Tim Russert has died at 58, of massive heart attack. He was a son, a father, husband, mentor, and thoughtful friend to many. He defined Sunday mornings. His words mattered. He was a class act every moment of every day.
Tim Russert is the standard bearer for civil and aggressive debate. He is an American institution. And for so many people, they knew they were on the right track when they found themselves in a room with Russert. Tomorrow will be a tough Father’s Day for his son Luke, his wife Maureen, and his father – Big Russ.
Words never escaped Mr. Russert, he was brilliantly human – unapologetically patriotic – possessed of a strong faith, heart, and conscience. He was one of the good guys.
From Howard Kurtz at The Washington Post:
Tim Russert, the Democratic operative turned NBC commentator who revolutionized Sunday morning television and infused journalism with his passion for politics, died this afternoon.
Russert suffered a heart attack while working in his office on Washington’s Nebraska Avenue. Details were not immediately available.
Russert served as NBC’s Washington bureau chief and the host of “Meet the Press,” the top-rated Sunday talk show, which had an enormous influence on politics and was marked by his aggressive style of interrogation. As a frequent commentator on the “Today” show, “NBC Nightly News” and other shows, Russert wielded such clout that when he declared that Sen. Barack Obama had wrapped up the Democratic nomination last month, his pronouncement was treated as a news event in itself.
Russert’s television career was marked by a voracious appetite for politics and a shrewd understanding of how politicians interact with the media. He also wrote a book about his father, titled “Big Russ and Me.” Last week, he moved Big Russ to a nursing facility.
Former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw gave MSNBC viewers the news of Russert’s death at 3:40 p.m.
“He worked to the point of exhaustion so many weeks,” Brokaw said, adding: “This news division will not be the same without his strong, clear voice.”
Brokaw said Russert had just returned from a family trip to Italy with his wife, writer Maureen Orth. Their son, Luke, graduated from Boston College this spring, Brokaw said.
Russert served as host of “Meet the Press” longer than any other person and was “one of the premier political analysts and journalists of his time,” Brokaw said. He began hosting “Meet the Press” in 1991.
The Buffalo native got his start in New York politics, working for then-senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan and then-governor Mario Cuomo.