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FILE - In this Nov. 5, 2015 file photo, "NewsHour" co-anchor Gwen Ifill attends The Women's Media Center 2015 Women's Media Awards in New York.  Ifill died on Monday, Nov. 14, 2016, of cancer, PBS said. She was 61.  (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)

 (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — Gwen Ifill, co-anchor of PBS’ “NewsHour” with Judy Woodruff and a veteran journalist who moderated two vice presidential debates, died Monday of cancer, the network said.

She was 61.

A former reporter for The New York Times and The Washington Post, Ifill switched to television in the 1990s and covered politics and Congress for NBC News. She moved to PBS in 1999 as host of “Washington Week” and also worked for the nightly “NewsHour” program. She and Woodruff were named co-anchors in 2013.

She moderated vice presidential debates in 2004 and 2008 and authored the book, “The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama.”

Ifill took a leave from “NewsHour” for a month this spring for health reasons, keeping details of her illness private. Her health failing, she left “NewsHour” again shortly before an election night that she and Woodruff would have covered together.

“Gwen was a standard bearer for courage, fairness and integrity in an industry going through seismic change,” said Sara Just, PBS “NewsHour” executive producer. “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.”

NBC News’ Pete Williams, a former colleague, struggled to keep his composure Monday when announcing Ifill’s death on MSNBC.

“She had so many awards in her office you could barely see out the window,” Williams said.

Shortly before moderating the debate between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin in 2008, Ifill brushed aside concerns that she might not be fair because she was writing a book about Obama.

“I’ve got a pretty long track record covering politics and news, so I’m not particularly worried that one-day blog chatter is going to destroy my reputation,” she told The Associated Press then.

Ifill, who was black, also questioned why people would assume her book would be favorable toward Obama. “Do you think they made the same assumptions about Lou Cannon (who is white) when he wrote his book about Reagan?” she said.

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17 thoughts on “Acclaimed Journalist Gwen Ifill Dies After Battle With Cancer At Age 61

  1. Cat Nickerson on said:

    When I watched Gwen Ifill in her various reporting roles and read all that she had wrote, I felt her news the most credible news reporting I’d ever heard since I started listening while sitting next to my dad back in the 1950’s. Thank you for your service and excellent work. May your loved ones find peace after your loss.

  2. What an example she displayed to young girls of color; that they too can fulfill a dream of become a journalist. Rest in Peace my sister. Rest in Peace

  3. Wow….reflecting back when I observed her during this long campaign season she didn’t give an ounce of a clue that she was sick. Gwen will be missed by those of us that were so glad that when we turned to PBS for news…..Gwen was a shining example of a Black woman

  4. Elaine Smith on said:

    Gwen was the best…
    She’s left quite a legacy. We won’t see another like her.
    Rest well.
    Deepest condolences to the Ifill family

  5. Ava Dowell on said:

    Rest in Peace Gwen- PBS & viewers will miss you. You were a fine journalist with Intergrity. No pundits for you. I, like others are so safden by your sudden loss. You did it your way.

  6. leadjustone on said:

    Consumate professional! Huge loss to the journalism community, as well as the community at large. My condolences to her family.

  7. Jacqueline R Kimbrough on said:

    Gwen has always been my favorite Journalist .Her delivery has been fair and balanced.,unlike most news coverage today.

  8. Ms. Ifill was the only reason why I watched PBS “News-hour.” Gwen Ifill was an intelligent, AWESOME journalist who will be missed.

    My condolences to her family.

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