US media celebrity dies of heart attack

Tim Russert, the host of NBC's Sunday talk show "Meet the Press" and one of the best-known political reporters on US television, died on Friday of a heart attack, NBC announced. Russert was 58 years old.


US media personality Tim Russert died of a sudden heart attack Friday in NBC's Washington newsroom, the network reported.

Russert, 58, was NBC's Washington bureau chief and the longstanding host of the current affairs program Meet The Press.

"Russert was recording voiceovers for Sunday's 'Meet the Press' program when he collapsed," the network said.

"Tim was our friend, our leader, our cheerleader," senior NBC reporter Andrea Mitchell said.

Born in Buffalo, New York, Russert started out after law school working for political campaigns in New York before joining NBC News in 1984.

He began anchoring Meet the Press in 1991, and gained a reputation as a dogged interviewer of politicians and other leaders, including during the most recent US presidential primaries. He also authored two books.

"I think he elevated broadcast coverage" of politics, said veteran NBC anchor Tom Brokaw.

"He was always about fairness," said NBC anchor Brian Williams.

Russert was married to writer Maureen Orth and had a son, Luke.

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