Gwen Ifill, the co-anchor of PBS NewsHour, has died.
Ifill, 61, lost her battle with cancer this afternoon. “She was surrounded by loving family and many friends whom we ask that you keep in your thoughts and prayers,” a statement from PBS reads.
“Gwen was a standard bearer for courage, fairness and integrity in an industry going through seismic change,” adds Sara Just, PBS NewsHour executive producer and WETA svp. “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.”
Just’s statement continues: “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 Ifill and Judy Woodruff have co-anchored PBS NewsHour officially since 2013, but had been in their roles since 2009 joining Jim Lehrer on the program. Ifill had also moderated the Friday night PBS program Washington Week since 1999. Amy Walter and Pete Williams have been filling in on that program.
Ifill, who moderated the quadrennial Vice Presidential debate twice: in 2004 and again in 2008, had been absent from PBS in the final weeks of the presidential campaign, last appearing on Oct. 9, the night of the second presidential debate.
Before joining PBS in 1999, Ifill was a correspondent for NBC News. In August, she was honored with the John Chancellor Award for Excellence in Journalism from the Columbia Journalism School.