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BREAKING: 5:30pm 6-13-08 Host of "Meet the Press," Veteran Newsman Tim Russert Dies at 58
Friday, Jun 13, 2008 3:36pm

WASHINGTON, D.C.  From CNN (By: Tom Pace, Talk of the Town) BREAKING NEWS:  5:30pm 6-13-08  Longtime journalist, and host of NBC's "Meet the Press",  Tim Russert died today at the age of 58.  The venerable newsman, respected and admired by all, collapsed at work Friday, June 13th, 2008, according to a spokesman for the network. He was taken to Washington's Sibley Memorial Hospital where he died, the hospital confirmed. 

CNN reports that colleague and former NBC anchor Tom Brokaw broke the news on the network Friday shortly after 3:40 p.m., saying Russert had just returned from a family vacation in Italy to celebrate the graduation of his son, Luke, from Boston College.

President Bush on Friday expressed sorrow over Russert's death and admiration for his professionalism. "He was an institution in both news and politics for more than two decades. Tim was a tough and hardworking newsman. He was always well-informed and thorough in his interviews. And he was as gregarious off the set as he was prepared on it," Bush said in a statement Friday.  

"Most important, Tim was a proud son and father, and Laura and I offer our deepest sympathies to his wife, Maureen, his son, Luke, and the entire Russert family," the President said.

Sen. Barack Obama, the presumed Democratic nominee for president, said he had known Russert since Obama spoke at the party convention in 2004.  There wasn't a better interviewer in television," he said. 

Sen. John McCain, set to be Obama's Republican opponent in the fall, issued a statement saying he was very saddened by the news.

"He was truly a great American who loved his family, his friends, his Buffalo Bills and everything about politics and America. He was just a terrific guy," McCain said of Russert.

Russert joined the network in 1984 and quickly established himself as the face of the network's political coverage, eventually becoming senior vice president and Washington bureau chief of NBC news.

In 1985, Russert supervised live broadcasts of the "Today" show from Rome, negotiating an appearance by Pope John Paul II -- a first for American television.

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