One of Americas leading political jourrnalists has passed away after suffering a heart attack at the age of 58. Tim Russert, host of NBC's 'Meet the Press'
Russert was born May 7, 1950, in Buffalo, New York. His parents were Timothy John Russert Sr., or "Big Russ," a newspaper truck driver and sanitation worker, and Elizabeth Russert.
Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown ordered that all flags on city property be lowered immediately to half-staff in Russert's honor.
He was a graduate of Canisius High School, John Carroll University and the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. He was a member of the bar in New York and the District of Columbia, according to a biography on CNBC.com
Before joining NBC, Russert served as press secretary for former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo and as chief of staff to Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan.
Russert joined the network in 1984 and quickly established himself as the face of the network's political coverage, eventually becoming senior vice president and Washington bureau chief of NBC news.
His career at NBC was marked by a number of milestones. In 1985, Russert supervised live broadcasts of the "Today" show from Rome, Italy, negotiating an appearance by Pope John Paul II -- a first for American television.
Presidential Candidates React
Following the news of Russerts death, presidential candidates Senator Obama and Senator McCain expressed their sympathies to the news anchors familiy:
"I've known Tim Russert since I first spoke at the convention in 2004. He's somebody who, over time, I came to consider not only a journalist but a friend. There wasn't a better interviewer in TV, not a more thoughtful analyst of our politics, and he was also one of the finest men I knew. Somebody who cared about America, cared about the issues, cared about family. I am grief-stricken with the loss and my thoughts and prayers go out to his family. And I hope that, even though Tim is irreplaceable, that the standard that he set in his professional life and his family life are standards that we all carry with us in our own lives."
"I am very saddened by Tim Russert's sudden death. Cindy and I extend our thoughts and prayers to the Russert family as they cope with this shocking loss and remember the life and legacy of a loving father, husband and the preeminent political journalist of his generation. He was truly a great American who loved his family, his friends, his Buffalo Bills, and everything about politics and America. He was just a terrific guy. I was proud to call him a friend, and in the coming days, we will pay tribute to a life whose contributions to us all will long endure."