NBC's Tim Russert Dies of Heart Attack

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CBNNews.com - Political pro Tim Russert collapsed and died of an apparent heart attack, Friday, at NBC's Washington news location. He was 58.

Russert was best known for his work with NBC's "Meet the Press," which he took over in 1991 and turned into one of the most popular political programs in the nation.

The network interrupted its programming Friday afternoon to announce Russert's death.

Click play to hear CBN News Political Analyst David Brody reflect on working with Tim Russert as a round-table guest on Meet the Press.

"(He was) one of the premier political journalists and analysts of his time," Tom Brokaw, former anchor of "NBC Nightly News" said. "This news division will not be the same without his strong, clear voice."

Russert's internist, Michael A. Newman, told MSNBC that an autopsy showed the journalist had an enlarged heart and that cholesterol plaque ruptured an artery, causing coronary thrombosis.

He said Russert had been diagnosed earlier with coronary artery disease, but that it was controlled with medication and exercise and Russert had performed well on a stress test in late April.

Russert Remembered

CBN News' David Brody had the chance to meet Russert several times on "Meet the Press." He says he'll always remember the journalist as "a principled, fair, honest and decent man.

"Life is so short. And when something like this happens, it really makes you reflect on the spiritual nature of life," Brody wrote in his blog.   Read more on The Brody File.

President Bush also released a statement mourning the loss of Russert.

"Tim was a tough and hardworking newsman. He was always well-informed and thorough in his interviews. And he was as gregarious off the set as he was prepared on it," he said.  Read more reactions to Russert's death

A Memorable Career

Russert, a Buffalo, N.Y. native, was once press secretary to former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo and chief of staff to the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan. He then successfully climbed to be one of the leading political journalists in the media world.

"My views are not important," Russert once said about his Democratic background. "Lawrence Spivak, who founded 'Meet the Press,' told me before he died that the job of the host is to learn as much as you can about your guest's positions and take the other side...And to do that in a persistent and civil way. And that's what I try to do every Sunday."

Russert joined NBC News in 1984. Two years later he began weeklong broadcasts from South America, Australia and China. He then took over "Meet the Press" in December 1991.

Russert was also political analyst for "NBC Nightly News" and "TODAY," and host of "The Tim Russert Show."

Political Man, Best-Selling Author

Russert's novel, "Big Russ and Me," resonated with thousands after it's release in 2004, and soon became a New York Times best-seller. He used the book to honor what his dad had done for him.

"His decency, his loyalty, his faith, his devotion, those are the lessons that he instilled in me and my sisters," Russert told the 700 Club in 2006. "And as I went around the country people perceived it as an invitation to talk about their dads."

Russert said the book had changed his life. He went on to write a second book, "Wisdom of Our Fathers," in 2006, which also became best-seller.

Russert earned an Emmy award for his coverage of Ronald Reagan's funeral. His 2000 interviews with George W. Bush and Al Gore also won him the Radio and Television Correspondents' highest honor.

Just this year, the journalist was named one of the 100 most influential people by Time magazine.

Russert is survived by his wife, Maureen, and son, Luke.

Sources: Associated Press, New York Post, MSNBC

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