Tim Russert, the Democratic operative turned NBC commentator who revolutionized Sunday morning television and infused journalism with his passion for politics, died this afternoon.
Russert, 58, suffered a heart attack while working in his office on Washington's Nebraska Avenue. Details were not immediately available.
Russert served as NBC's Washington bureau chief and the host of "Meet the Press," the top-rated Sunday talk show, which had an enormous influence on politics and was marked by his aggressive style of interrogation. As a frequent commentator on "Today," "NBC Nightly News" and other shows, Russert's clout was such that when he declared Barack Obama to have wrapped up the Democratic nomination last month, that was treated as a news event in itself.
Russert's television career was marked by a voracious appetite for politics and a shrewd understanding of how politicians interact with the media. He also wrote a book about his father, "Big Russ," and last week moved him to a nursing facility.
Tom Brokaw gave MSNBC viewers the news at 3:40 p.m. "He worked to the point of exhaustion so many weeks," Brokaw said, adding: "This news division will not be the same without his strong, clear voice."
The Buffalo native got his start in New York politics, working for then-senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan and then-governor Mario Cuomo.