What a shock about Tim Russert…good God. The 58 year-old Meet The Press host was recording voiceovers for the upcoming Sunday show earlier today when he collapsed and died. I’m not finding the cause but I would guess a heart attack. The NBC News’ Washington bureau chief and moderator of Meet the Press, shrewd and whip-smart and always with the smile and the charm, was 58.
Former NBC anchor Tom Brokawmade the on-air announcement around 20 minutes ago — 12:40 pm Pacific. He reported that Russert had collapsed and died early this afternoon while at work. Russert had just returned from a brief vacation in Italy with his family.
Russert was large and beefy but was far from what anyone would call “a guy with a major weight problem.” Very strange and shocking. Boomers with weight issues are probably convulsing coast-to-coast right now, wondering what they should change about their diet or their life. Sometimes your number is just up. Death knocks, the door opens and you’re gone. No time for a farewell note or goodbye wave…bam.
A N.Y. Times account says that Brokaw said “this was one of the most important years in [Russert’s] life, with his deep engagement in the network’s political coverage” and that he “worked to the point of exhaustion.”
Russert became Meet the Press moderator in December 1991. In 2008, Time Magazine named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world.
Jesus…now Russert will never know how the election will turn out — what the margins will be, which states will break for Obama, etc. Wherever he is, I’ll be he’s at least a little bit pissed about this. I would be if I were he. The force on the other side of the river who pushed the button on Russert should have at least waited until after November. Bad form, Mr. Death.
I’m also half-persuaded, however, that once you’re gone you’re on a cosmic plane that is so far above and beyond the day-to-day of the planet Earth that such thoughts never cross your mind, if your post-death consciousness can be said to be graspable by a “mind,” which is probably not the case.
I’m watching NBC’s Andrea Mitchell talk about Russert and how he began to address her one day by her nickname of “Mitch,” and she just crumbled a bit. She held onto her composure but her voice cracked and her eyes watered over.