Gwen Ifill
Gwen Ifill

On Monday (November 14), longtime television journalist, political analyst and host of PBS’s “NewsHour,” Gwen Ifill, passed away at the age of 61. Ifill, who moderated the 2004 and 2008 presidential debates, was also an author, who wrote the bestseller “The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama.”

Cancer is reported to be the cause of death – a battle which she chose to keep private.

On the day of her passing, PBS issued an official statement on her passing:

“It is with extreme sadness that we share the news that Gwen Ifill passed away earlier today surrounded by family and friends. 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.

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.”

President Obama, on the heartbreaking loss, said: “An especially powerful role model for women and girls, Gwen did her country a great service. Michelle and I want to offer our deepest condolences to her family, and all of you, on her passing.”

Ifill was scheduled to receive the prestigious John Chancellor Award at a Columbia University ceremony on Wednesday.

Last night, PBS’s “NewsHour,” the program that she hosted for years, leading up to her death, paid wonderful tribute to Ifill in a 12-minute salute of their beloved co-anchor, as members of the “NewsHour” family — past and present — remember her. Watch the piece, titled “What Gwen Ifill Taught Us,” below.