“It is with extreme sadness that we share the news that Gwen Ifill passed away earlier today surrounded by family and friends,” PBS’ President and CEO Paula Kerger’s statement read. “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. Her contributions to thoughtful reporting and civic discourse simply cannot be overstated. 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,” Kerger’s message continued. “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.”
The long-time journalist and newscaster was best known as being the moderator and managing editor of PBS talk show Washington Week, as well as co-anchor for PBS’ NewsHour.
During her career, Ifill moderated two vice-presidential debates, between John Edwards and Dick Cheney in 2004, and one between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin in 2008, as well as a 2016 Democratic primary debate in which she co-moderated with fellow PBS anchor Judy Woodruff.
Prior to her passing, Ifill took unspecified time off for health reasons. She had previously been out of work for two months last spring and hadn’t revealed the details surrounding her illness.
Following news of her death, tributes began to pour in for the journalist from Twitter.