Gwen Ifill, one of the nation's most prominent African-American journalists, has died after several months of cancer treatment, PBS confirmed Monday.
Ifill, 61, was moderator and managing editor of "Washington Week," a political discussion show. She was also managing editor of the "PBS NewsHour," an hour-long evening newscast she co-anchored with Judy Woodruff. In 2009, she also wrote a book about President Obama, The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama.
"It is with extreme sadness that we share the news that Gwen Ifill passed away earlier today surrounded by family and friends," according to a statement from Paula Kerger, PBS' CEO. "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."
A native of New York City, Ifill joined PBS in 1999. Prior to joining PBS, Ifill worked as chief congressional and political correspondent for NBC News, White House correspondent for The New York Times, and political reporter for The Washington Post. She has also worked at the Baltimore Evening Sun and the Boston Herald American.
She has covered seven presidential campaigns in her career and moderated two vice presidential debates, according to PBS. In 2004, she moderated the debate between Dick Cheney and John Edwards, and the 2008 debate between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin.
"Her contributions to thoughtful reporting and civic discourse simply cannot be overstated," Kerger said. "She often said that her job was to bring light rather than heat to issues of importance to our society. Gwen did this with grace and a steadfast commitment to excellence. Our sorrow at her passing is a part of our profound gratitude for all that she did for our system and our nation. It was an honor to know Gwen and to work with her. All of us at PBS express our sincere condolences to Gwen’s friends and family."
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