Journalist, Political Analyst, Gwen Ifill Dies at 61

Veteran journalist and newscaster Gwen Ifill has died of cancer at the age of 61.

Ifill is best known for her reporting on politics and as moderator of PBS Newshour with Judy Woodruff.

During her career, she worked with the Washington Post, New York Times, NBC News and also moderated the Vice Presidential Debates in 2004 and 2008.

Ifill was also the author of the bestseller,  The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama.

She was battling endometrial cancer while covering this year’s presidential election and it forced her to take a leave of absence from her journalism duties.

President Obama took a moment during a White House press conference today to acknowledge her death and give his condolences to her family.

“Finally, on a personal note, Michelle and I want to offer our deepest condolences to Gwen Ifill’s family and all of you, her colleagues, on her passing,” he said. “Gwen was a friend of ours.  She was an extraordinary journalist.  She always kept faith with the fundamental responsibilities of her profession, asking tough questions, holding people in power accountable, and defending a strong and free press that makes our democracy work.  I always appreciated Gwen’s reporting, even when I was at the receiving end of one of her tough and thorough interviews.  Whether she reported from a convention floor or from the field, whether she sat at the debate moderator’s table or the anchor’s desk, she not only informed today’s citizens, but she also inspired tomorrow’s journalists.  She was an especially powerful role model for young women and girls who admired her integrity, her tenacity, and her intellect and for whom she blazed a trail as one half of the first all female anchor team on network news.  So Gwen did her country a great service.  Michelle and I join her family and her colleagues and everybody else who loved her in remembering her fondly today.”

Ifill was not married and did not have children but her family says she was surrounded by her siblings and friends when she passed.

For more on Ifill’s life and work, click here.