NBC News special report: "It's my sad duty to report this afternoon that my friend and college, Tim Russert, the moderator of "Meet the Press" and NBC's Washington bureau chief, collapsed and died early this afternoon while at work in the NBC news bureau in Washington. Tim had just returned from a family trip to Italy with his wife, Maureen Orth, the writer, and his son, Luke. They were celebrating Luke's graduation from Boston College just this spring. Tim, of course, has been the host of "Meet the Press" longer than any other person in that long-running television broadcast. He has been a very familiar face on this network and throughout the world of political journalism as one of the premier political analysts and journalists of his time.
"Tim, 58 years old, grew up in Buffalo and he wrote a No. 1 best-selling "New York Times" book called "Big Russ and Me," about his childhood and especially about his relationship with his father, big Russ. That was followed by another No. 1 New York Times best-seller called "The Wisdom of our Fathers." That book was inspired by the many letters that he received from other children talking about their relationship with their fathers.
"This was one of the most important years in Tim's life for so many reasons. He loved this political campaign. He worked to the point of exhaustion so many weeks, not just on "Meet the Press" but on MSNBC, and with our colleague Brian Williams, of course, during the debates and on special coverage on NBC Nightly News.
"Tim was a true child of Buffalo and the blue-collar roots in which he was raised. For all of his success, he was always in touch with the ethos of that community. Just last week, he was back in Buffalo moving his father from his home to another facility. His father is now in his late 80s. Big Russ, it goes without saying, our heart goes out to him and all members of Tim's family. Tim loved his family, his faith, his country, politics. He loved the Buffalo Bills, the New York Yankees and the Washington Nationals. He of course had season tickets to that team when they moved to Washington. ...
"To repeat, our beloved colleague, one of the premier journalists of our time, Tim Russert, died this afternoon after collapsing at work at the NBC News bureau in Washington, D.C. And I think I can invoke personal privilege to say that this news division will not be the same without his strong, clear voice. He will be missed as he was loved, greatly.
Steve Capus, president, NBC News
Written statement: "This is a loss for the entire nation. Everyone at NBC News is in shock and absolutely devastated. He was our respected colleague, mentor, and dear friend. Words can not express our heartbreak. Our thoughts and prayers are with Maureen, Luke, Big Russ and all of Tim's family."
Jeff Zucker, president and chief executive officer, NBC Universal
Written statement: "We are heartbroken at the sudden passing of Tim Russert. We have lost a beloved member of our NBC Universal family and the news world has lost one of its finest. The enormity of this loss cannot be overstated. More than a journalist, Tim was a remarkable family man. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Maureen, their son, Luke, and Tim's entire extended family."
Jeff Immelt, chairman and CEO, General Electric (parent company of NBC News)