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Veteran Newsman Tim Russert


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NBC's Veteran Newsman Tim Russert

by David Espo and Laurie Kellman, AP


Tim Russert

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Tim Russert, the longest-serving moderator of NBC's "Meet the Press" and the lion of the Washington Press Corps, died of a sudden heart attack Friday, June 13 in the midst of a presidential campaign he'd covered with trademark intensity. He was 58.

Russert had returned early from a family trip to Italy and was working at NBC's Washington bureau, recording voice-overs for Sunday's show, when he collapsed Friday afternoon. His wife, Maureen Orth, a writer for Vanity Fair, and their son, Luke, were still in Italy, where they had been celebrating Luke's graduation from Boston College.

Russert's physician, Michael A. Newman, told MSNBC that resuscitation was begun immediately and continued at Sibley Memorial Hospital, to no avail. Dr. Newman, an internist, reported that cholesterol plaque ruptured in an artery, causing sudden coronary thrombosis. An autopsy also revealed that Russert had an enlarged heart.


Tim Russert with his wife, writer Maureen Orth and their son, Luke.

"This news division will not be the same without his strong, clear voice," longtime NBC anchor Tom Brokaw said on MSNBC as he reported the news in a special report. "He will be missed -- as he was loved -- greatly. We cannot believe that he's gone, that we've lost his voice and that the country has lost this preeminent journalist."

Shellshocked NBC News employees struggled with their emotions as they covered the death of the veteran political journalist, who had been a near-ubiquitous presence on MSNBC this year as he reported on the 2008 presidential campaign. Russert was a political lifer who made a TV career of his passion with unrelenting questioning of the powerful and influential.

Praise poured in from the biggest names in politics, some recalling their own meltdown moments on his hot seat. Russert was a political operative before he was a journalist. He joined NBC a quarter century ago and ended up as the longest-tenured host of the Sunday talk show, "Meet the Press."


Like Father . . . Like Son. The elder Russert, 'Big Russ', on the set

of 'Meet the Press' being grilled by his grandson, Luke while Tim

moderates the clash of the generations.

Russert was NBC's Washington Bureau Chief and an election-night fixture, with his whiteboard and scribbled figures. He was moderator for numerous political debates. He wrote two best-selling books, including the much-loved "Big Russ and Me" about his relationship with his father.

President Bush, informed of Russert's death while at dinner in Paris, saluted him as "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."

NBC interrupted its regular programming with news of Russert's death and continued for several hours of coverage without commercial break. The network announced that Tom Brokaw would anchor a special edition of "Meet the Press" on Sunday, dedicated to Russert.


Dignitaries Pay Tribute to Tim Russert

"I think I can invoke personal privilege to say that this news division will not be the same without his strong, clear voice. He'll be missed as he was loved

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Thanks for posting TV Paige.

I'm gonna remember his big smile. My prayers go out to his family.

RIP Tim Russert

The world will miss him!


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