Gwen Ifill, The co-anchor of PBS NewsHour with Judy Woodruff has died at the age of 61. The award-winning veteran journalist, who moderated two vice presidential debates in 2004 and 2008, died of endometrial cancer and apparently did not tell others about her illness.
Sara Just, the executive producer of PBS NewsHour and WETA SVP, released a statement saying: “Gwen was a standard bearer for courage, fairness and integrity in an industry going through seismic change. She was a mentor to so many across the industry and her professionalism was respected across the political spectrum. She was a journalist’s journalist and set an example for all around her.”
She continued, “So many people in the audience felt that they knew and adored her. She had a tremendous combination of warmth and authority. She was stopped on the street routinely by people who just wanted to give her a hug and considered her a friend after years of seeing her on TV. We will forever miss her terribly.”
Gwen was a former reporter for both the New York Times and the Washington Post. She switched to television in the 1990’s and covered politics and Congress for NBC News. In 1999, she moved to PBS as host of Washington Week, which later led to her becoming the co-host ofNewHour.
In 2009, she also authored a book entitled, The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama.
She will be remembered as a pioneer for women and for African Americans in journalism, becoming the first African American woman to host a major political talk show.
Watch one of her last interviews (with President Obama):