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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Tim Russert Dies at Age 58

B. Thomas Cooper - Editor

NBC News Washington Bureau Chief Tim Russert passed away suddenly, after suffering an apparent heart attack in Washington D.C. Mr. Russert, was indeed quite special. He will be greatly missed by many.

A journalist and a gentleman, the consummate professional, and an inspiration to his peers, Tim will be remembered most of all for being a family man. Tim was a venerable figure in the journalism profession. He loved his country, and he loved his job. His integrity can be matched by few.

Dr. Michael Neumann, an assistant to Mr. Russert reports that Russert collapsed while preparing for ‘Meet the Press’ which he moderated and has hosted since 1991. Resuscitation began immediately, but to no avail. Russert was taken to Sibley hospital, where he was pronounced dead. An autopsy later confirmed the cause of death.

Tim Russert had recently returned from vacationing in Italy with his family, following the graduation of his son Luke from Boston College. Russert, born in 1950, was raised in Buffalo, N.Y. where the flags were lowered to half mast in his honor. Russert had a unique gift for gleaning and retaining information, and clearly loved his work. He was driven by a yearning for the truth, a quest that set the tone throughout his life.

“If you could pass the Tim Russert test, you could do something in this field,” opined Howard Fineman, senior Washington correspondent for Newsweek magazine. Brian Williams, managing editor and anchor of “NBC Nightly News,” called Russert’s death a “staggering, overpowering and sudden loss.”

“Tim Russert was a friend to millions, respected, admired and loved” said an obviously shaken Barbara Walters, who stuttered as she struggled to rise above her grief. Russert was a tireless champion of journalism, and indeed, there are those who believe it was his ceaseless work ethic that brought about his early demise. He died in his element.

During ‘Meet the Press’ this last Sunday, an empty chair was placed at the moderators table. It was a sad, defining moment for the program that won’t be soon forgotten.

Tim’s love for politics has been described as infectious. He excelled at life and at his work. My heartfelt sympathy goes to his family and loved one’s. God bless you, Tim Russert, and Godspeed. May you look down upon us and be as pleased with us as we are with all the gifts you have left behind for others to enjoy.

B. Thomas Cooper - Editor

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