Famed PBS Journalist Gwen Ifill Dead at 61
Gwen Ifill, the veteran journalist and co-anchor of PBS’ “NewsHour” with Judy Woodruff, died on Monday of endometrial cancer.
She was 61.
A former newspaper reporter, Ifill switched to television and worked for NBC News and PBS. She moderated two vice presidential debates.
Ifill took a leave from her nightly show for health reasons earlier this year, never making public her illness. A week ago, she went out on leave again, taking her away from election night coverage.
“I am saddened to hear of Ms. Gwen Ifill’s passing. Gwen, 61, was a transformative voice among journalists,” National Association of Black Journalists President Sara Glover said in a Facebook post. “Her professionalism and poise coupled with an innate doggedness to report the story reverberated throughout the industry.”
Ifill was one of the most prominent African-American journalists in the country. The veteran commentator covered seven presidential campaigns and moderated the vice presidential debates in 2004 and 2008.
Ifill was also the bestselling author of The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama. In 2013, she was named co-host of the PBS Newshour.
“It is with profound sadness and grief that we share the passing of our beloved Gwen Ifill,” her family wrote in a statement. “We truly appreciate the public expression of sympathy from those who knew and respected her. At this time, we respectfully request the ability to grieve and remember Gwen privately. However, more information will be made available in the coming days on a public remembrance of the woman so many admired.”
Journalists and fans on Twitter took time to remember the iconic analyst.
Very sad to learn we have lost Gwen Ifill. Gwen represented the best of broadcast journalism. Our hearts are broken.
— Lester Holt (@LesterHoltNBC) November 14, 2016
A profound loss for @PBS, public media, and all of journalism. We will miss our dear friend Gwen Ifill.
— FRONTLINE (@frontlinepbs) November 14, 2016
Shocked by the sad news of Gwen Ifill’s passing. A first class journalist & human being. My heart breaks. She was too young to have left us.
— Maria Shriver (@mariashriver) November 14, 2016
“Gwen was one of America’s leading lights in journalism and a fundamental reason public media is considered a trusted window on the world by audiences across the nation,” Paula Kerger, the PBS president and CEO, said.
Ifill’s remarkable legacy is one that will be discussed for years to come. She broke gender and racial barriers and became a role model for journalists throughout the world, and for that she will be sorely missed.