This from the New York Times Friday afternoon:
Tim Russert, the host of “Meet the Press,” and NBC’s Washington bureau chief, has died. He was 58.
Mr. Russert was a towering figure in American journalism and moderated several debates during the recent presidential primary season.
Tom Brokaw, the former anchor of NBC Nightly News, came on the air at 3:39 p.m. that Mr. Russert had collapsed and died early this afternoon while at work. He had just returned from Italy with his family.
Mr. Russert hailed from Buffalo and worked for two prominent New York Democrats, Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Gov. Mario Cuomo, before being hired in 1984 by NBC in its Washington bureau. He became bureau chief four years later.
After getting the news, I went to the office and wrote my own column about Russert. You can find it here.
This is a shock. I knew Russert slightly, had talked to him here and there over the years, and he always seemed so vital. I think the massive coverage today -- the sort you would expect for a Cronkite or Murrow -- demonstrates even more how stunning it was that he had passed. He wasn't someone whose career was long over, but someone who seemed as if he should burst back on the air at any moment. He was well known by and to the commentators and newscasters, and respected for his love of newsgathering, and you know that almost everyone had a personal story about him.