PBS journalist Gwen Ifill dies of cancer

"NewsHour" co-anchor Gwen Ifill attends the Women's Media Awards in New York, Nov. 5, 2015. (Invision/AP file)
"NewsHour" co-anchor Gwen Ifill attends the Women's Media Awards in New York, Nov. 5, 2015. (Invision/AP file)

NEW YORK (AP) — Gwen Ifill, the veteran journalist and co-anchor of PBS' "NewsHour" with Judy Woodruff, died on Monday of cancer, the network said.

She was 61.

A former newspaper reporter, Ifill switched to television and worked for NBC News and PBS. She moderated two vice presidential debates.

She took a leave from her nightly show for health reasons earlier this year, never making public her illness. A week ago, she went out on leave again, taking her away from election night coverage.

Sara Just, PBS "NewsHour" executive producer, called Ifill "a standard bearer for courage, fairness and integrity in an industry going through seismic change."

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Statement from PBS:

It is with extremely heavy hearts that we must share that our dear friend and beloved colleague Gwen Ifill passed away this afternoon following several months of cancer treatment. She was surrounded by loving family and many friends whom we ask that you keep in your thoughts and prayers.

A note from Sara Just, PBS NewsHour executive producer and WETA SVP

"Gwen was a standard bearer for courage, fairness and integrity in an industry going through seismic change. She was a mentor to so many across the industry and her professionalism was respected across the political spectrum. She was a journalist’s journalist and set an example for all around her.

So many people in the audience felt that they knew and adored her. She had a tremendous combination of warmth and authority. She was stopped on the street routinely by people who just wanted to give her a hug and considered her a friend after years of seeing her on tv.

We will forever miss her terribly."

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