“Our lead tonight is news that we hoped we would never have to report,” an emotional Judy Woodruff said. “Our managing editor, my co-anchor and dear friend Gwen Ifill died earlier today after an almost year-long battle with cancer.
“She was a supernova in a profession loaded with smart and talented people,” Woodruff added. “So it’s no surprise that messages of condolence have flooded in all afternoon from across the journalism and political spectrum.”
As previously reported, President Obama paid tribute to the journalist at the top of his press conference Monday.
“I always appreciated Gwen’s reporting even when I was on the receiving end of one of her tough and thorough interviews,” Obama said. “She not only informed today’s citizens but she also inspired tomorrow’s journalists.
“Michelle and I join her family and her colleagues and everybody else who loved her in remembering her fondly today.”
PBS’ tribute started with a look at her journalism career — which began at the Boston Herald American before moving onto the Baltimore Evening Sun, the Washington Post, and the New York Times. She switched over to broadcast, working for NBC News in 1994. In 1999, she moved to PBS. In 2013, Ifill and Woodruff became the first all-female network anchor team.
Throughout Monday’s broadcast, colleagues paid loving tribute to Ifill, fighting back tears. Watch the entire tribute on PBS’ website.
Others took to social media to pay their respects.
Dan Rather wrote, “I first met Gwen Ifill when she was a reporter at @nytimes. She became a pioneering journalist at NBC + PBS. My prayers are with her family.”
“Very sad to learn we have lost Gwen Ifill,” Lester Holt tweeted. “Gwen represented the best of broadcast journalism. Our hearts are broken.”
CNN’s Wolf Blitzer called her a “good friend.”
Katie Couric wrote, “The extraordinarily timed and intelligent Gwen Ifill has passed away from cancer. I will so miss her impeccable character and friendship.”
Jake Tapper called her a “stellar journalist.”
Tamron Hall called Ifill a “hero” and talked about her impact on black women.
Robin Roberts echoed Hall’s sentiments, saying she “greatly admired her.”
Maria Shriver called her a “first class journalist and human being.”
Politicians weighed in as well, from both sides of the aisle.
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan wrote, “I am saddened to learn about the passing of Gwen Ifill—an incredibly talented and respected journalist.”
Sarah Palin praised her and remembered Ifill’s moderating of the 2008 vice presidential debate, which saw Palin face off against Joe Biden.
John Lewis mourned the loss of “an outstanding and beloved journalist and friend.”