Gwen Ifill, the veteran journalist and newscaster who co-anchored “PBS NewsHour,” has died, PBS said today.
Ifill, 61, broke gender and racial barriers and became a role model for journalists across the country. She had been battling endometrial cancer while covering this year’s presidential election.
PBS said in a statement that she died Monday “surrounded by family and friends.”
“Gwen was one of America’s leading lights in journalism and a fundamental reason public media is considered a trusted window on the world by audiences across the nation,” Paula Kerger, the PBS president and CEO, said.
“She often said that her job was to bring light rather than heat to issues of importance to our society,” Kerger said.
Ifill, who worked at The Washington Post, The New York Times and NBC News, became moderator of PBS’s “Washington Week in Review” in 1999. She was tapped to be the co-anchor of the “NewsHour” in 2013. Ifill and co-anchor Judy Woodruff were the first women to jointly lead a national nightly news broadcast.
Ifill also moderated the 2004 and 2008 vice-presidential debates, as well as a 2016 Democratic primary debate.
“I think we’re all diminished without Gwen,” CNN’s Gloria Borger, a longtime friend of Ifill’s, said after the news of Ifill’s passing was announced.
Borger recalled that Ifill’s “preparation for those debates was stunning.”
“She was such a role model for me, and for so many people,” CNN’s Nia-Malika Henderson said.
“We all loved her,” CNN’s Jamie Gangel said, remembering Ifill as smart, funny and fearless.
Ifill was a pioneer for women and for African Americans in journalism, becoming the first African American woman to host a major political talk show when she took the helm at “Washington Week in Review.”