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Tim Russert, 58, has died

NBC News is very saddened to report that Tim Russert has passed away suddenly after collapsing at work. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.

*** UPDATE *** Following are the NBC Universal and General Electric Statements on the passing of Tim Russert. Below that, others' thoughts on Tim. 
We are heartbroken at the sudden passing of Tim Russert. We have lost a beloved member of our NBC Universal family and the news world has lost one of its finest. The enormity of this loss cannot be overstated. More than a journalist, Tim was a remarkable family man. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Maureen, their son, Luke, and Tim's entire extended family.

VIDEO: Tim Russert's closest friends and colleagues look back at his legacy on "Meet the Press."

This is a loss for the entire nation. Everyone at NBC News is in shock and absolutely devastated. He was our respected colleague, mentor, and dear friend.  Words can not express our heartbreak. Our thoughts and prayers are with Maureen, Luke, Big Russ and all of Tim's family.

Everyone at GE and at NBC Universal is devastated by the loss of our colleague and friend Tim Russert. Tim was a giant in journalism and a face and a voice that America trusted. He earned that trust through hard work, love of his profession and, above all, through his enduring honesty and integrity. And most importantly, Tim was a wonderful human being who valued family and friends over all.  We will miss him greatly. My sincerest sympathies go out to Tim's family and to the many people whose lives he touched.

NBC coverage:

*** UPDATE 2 *** Several statements, thoughts on Tim... Buffalo flags at half staff

AL GORE: Nashville, TN. The US and the world have a lost a great journalist, interviewer and author. He was an original and will be greatly missed.

JOE LIEBERMAN: Tim Russert was the embodiment of journalistic integrity and clarity who shed light on how our politics and our government work. Tim became an American institution and the Explainer in Chief of our political life. I have very fond memories of Tim both on and off the air. He will be truly missed by all Americans and my prayers are with his family that he loved so much.

BASEBALL HALL OF FAME CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD JANE FORBES CLARK: "We are shocked and deeply saddened to learn of Tim's sudden passing," said National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum Chairman Jane Forbes Clark. "He was an integral member of our Board of Directors and its executive committee, and he cared about the Hall of Fame and its mission so much. We'll miss Tim's critical thinking and his unsurpassed passion for the game tremendously."

DAN RATHER: Tim's passing is a loss not only to his family and many friends, it is a loss to good journalism and to our country. Tim, first and foremost, was devout in his faith and deeply devoted to his family.  He loved his country with a passion and became a classic example of the ideal American journalist. Tim had become an important part of our political process. He will be especially missed in this historic presidential election year. Tim Russert was a beacon of quality journalism.

At a time when quality journalism is in increasingly short supply, Tim Russert was a leader for what is best in American journalism.  He was tough but fair, pulled no punches, played no favorites. As an interviewer, he had few, if any, peers."

BOB SCHIEFFER: "Tim was the best of our profession. He asked the best questions and then he listened for the answer. We became very close friends over the years. He delighted in scooping me and I felt the same way when I scooped him. When you slipped one past ol' Russert, you felt as though you had hit a home run off the best pitcher in the league. I just loved Tim and I will miss him more than I can say, and my heart goes out to his son, Luke, and his wife, Maureen."

GEORGE STEPHANOPOLOUS: Tim loved everything about politics and journalism -- because he believed in it.  Every Sunday morning he brought that passion to his table and made all of us better.  My thoughts and prayers are with his family -- especially Maureen, Luke and his father Russ.

On behalf of the residents of Buffalo, New York, I express our shared sadness and shock at the news of Tim Russert's death. An accomplished journalist, who first gained his experience in the world of government and politics, Tim Russert rose to become the premier political journalist of his generation.

But more than his professional accomplishments, Tim Russert cherished his family, friends and his hometown.  He never forgot his roots in South Buffalo and he often reminded his television audience and guests of his strong affection for Buffalo, particularly his beloved Buffalo Bills. He was truly our city's greatest ambassador and he was loved by everyone in Buffalo and Western New York.

My thoughts and prayers are with his family. Tim Russert will always be remembered for his passion, hard work, honesty and dedication to his family. 

To honor Tim Russert's memory, I have ordered that all flags on city property be lowered immediately to half-staff.

GEORGE STEINBRENNER: "I join millions of others in mourning Tim's passing. He loved the game of baseball and was a true friend of the Yankees and mine. Tim always batted in the cleanup spot for the media and always hit for the fences. May God bless him and his family."

SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON AND FMR. PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: "We were stunned and deeply saddened to hear of the passing today of Tim Russert. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Maureen, his son Luke, his father who we all have come to know as Big Russ, his extended family and all of his many friends and colleagues at NBC who have suffered a tremendous loss. Always true to his proud Buffalo roots, Tim had a love of public service and a dedication to journalism that rightfully earned him the respect and admiration of not only his colleagues but also those of us who had the privilege to go toe to toe with him. In seeking answers to tough questions, he helped inform the American people and make our democracy stronger. We join his friends, fans and loved ones in mourning his loss and celebrating his remarkable contribution to our nation."

CHRIS DODD: "Tim Russert was a force in American politics, a force for integrity in our media, but above all, a friend. Since 1991, millions of Americans have looked to Tim on Sunday mornings for his keen insight into the political process. From his days in government to his remarkable tenure at NBC, Tim never lost his enthusiasm for vibrant and respectful political discourse - for the diversity of views and values in our society and the role of politics in our daily lives..."

JOHN KERRY: "...Tim was the best political newsman of his generation, and he was a trailblazer in the unique way he brought his personal love of politics, honed by Moynihan and Cuomo, right into our living rooms every Sunday. Tim was at once brilliant and insightful while always approachable, always accessible, and always your next door neighbor and your friend who was there to referee the debates of the big issues of our time.... When I decided to announce for President, the only place to do it was on 'Meet the Press.' It is impossible to imagine political life without him as our guide every Sunday...."

CHUCK SCHUMER: "...Just about every American thought he was part of their family, sitting around the kitchen table on Sunday mornings, talking about the country and its politics. I first met Tim Russert when he was working for Pat Moynihan and even then it was clear he had a great mind, a big heart, and a twinkle in his eye."

DICK DURBIN: "The American political scene has lost a hall-of-famer... An invitation to appear on his Sunday show always meant that you had to do your homework and be prepared for the best and toughest questions on the political scene...."

*** UPDATE 3 *** NBC's Kelly O'Donnell with John McCain and Joe Lieberman:
O'DONNELL: Thank you, Senator. I know that you have been a guest on Meet the Press many times and you have worked with Tim Russert and over these many years. Just wanted to get some of your thoughts as we come to grips with this loss.

MCCAIN: Well we're very saddened as so many Americans are, and our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and his friends. Tim Russert was the top of his profession. He was always tough. He was always fair. He was always fair and he was tough on all of us. And what America gained from him was the insight and the knowledge about the leadership of our country that made them more capable of rendering judgments and also being informed. We'll miss him and again our sympathy and our prayers go out to his friends and family. God bless.
God bless.

O'DONNELL: Also want to know some of your thoughts at this time and also a sense of how tim russert so enjoyed talking about politics and relating to the American people what was important about politics?
What are your reflections?

LIEBERMAN: Look, we're all shocked, this is hard to believe. A tragic loss, and untimely in the extreme. Tim Russert was just a lot of fun, and he was hard not to love. But then when you got on the air on Meet the Press  you had to remember that for the next hour you were going to be being professionals with one another. Look, he made us all better. He made us all better. And he deeply loved politics. And that came through in everything he did as one of the finest journalists of our time. I was thinking about memories, one of my favorite memories of him, I went to a World Series game at Yankee stadium, and there was Tim with his dad, Big Russ.  He had brought him down from Buffalo . It was years ago, but if I'm not mistaken it was the first flight that his dad had taken. I might be wrong, but father and son, and his adult son, they had 3 generations of guys there together at the ball game, having a great time, lot of love, it chokes me up to think about it.

O'DONNELL: what did it mean to have to face tim on MTP?
McCain: I once told him that I hadn't had so much fun since my last interrogation. It was very tough, but very fair. And the one thing, many things that tim russert expected of you. But one of them was to be straightforward. And he could cut through a filibuster better than anyone I ever knew. I know, I tried it several times.. but I think another thing that was a great attribute: he did his homework. And he studied what your positions were, what your ideas were, but he wanted to know what you were going to do for the country. So again it is not a surprise that he was at the top of his profession. And going on meet the press on Sunday was both a joy and a great fear. And he also upon many other things allowed you the ability to communicate with millions of Americans. And he also made it very clear that if you were not communicating adequately he was going to try to make sure that you did. Thank you. God Bless.

HOWARD DEAN: "Today we lost one of the true giants of American journalism and a tremendous public servant.  Tim Russert will be remembered for many things.  A committed family man, devout Catholic, devout sports fan, author, mentor.  A tough interviewer, Tim delivered the news with authority, in a plain-spoken way that made the great issues of our day accessible to everyone.   His love of politics and our country came through in his relentless pursuit of the truth and in the quality of his work as a journalist.  On this sad day, our thoughts and prayers are with his family and loved ones."

GIULIANI: "I join the nation in mourning the loss of Tim Russert an American icon in the world of politcal journalism.  Having sat in the studio with him, I can only say that he was a gentleman when the "on air" light was lit as well as when it was not.  I was fortunate enough to have seen him and shared a stage with him just recently and his ability to communicate the issues adn connect with a live audience  was not only informative, but inspirational.  His respect and love of  the political process was only exceeded by the respect and love he had for his family. Judith and  I extend our prayers and deepest sympathies to them, to his friends and all those he touched."

Fr. James P. Higgins, S.J. '72, President, Canisius High School:
Requiescat in Pace, Timothy J. Russert, Class of 1968: Tim Russert '68 died suddenly of a reported heart attack this afternoon, Friday, June 13, 2008. The thoughts and prayers of the entire Canisius High School community are with Tim's wife Maureen, his son, Luke, his father, Big Russ, his sisters and all members of the Russert Family. An articulate and astute son and citizen of Buffalo, New York, Tim eloquently described and defined growing up here in the 1960s. He stayed close and loyal to his roots always.

Tim uniquely represented the Jesuit ideals instilled in the Canisius student. His honesty and integrity earned him the unqualified respect of his colleagues and our nation. Tim embodied the qualities of the son, brother, husband, father, and uncle that made him the extraordinary human being and Catholic that he was. A faithful, loyal, committed and generous man, Mr. Russert was unquestionably our most accomplished and conspicuous alumnus in 138 years. May the Angels lead him into paradise; may the martyrs come to welcome him, and take him to the new and holy city, the new and eternal Jerusalem.

NY GOV. DAVID PATERSON: Today I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Tim Russert, a beloved native son of Buffalo, New York. A distinguished and dedicated public servant, he worked for New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan and in the administration of Governor Mario Cuomo. He then transitioned from government to become a fair, tough and outstanding journalist, quickly ascending to one of the most respected in his field.

Tim never forgot his roots in Western New York, and his hometown has always celebrated his great accomplishments. A graduate of Canisius High School, he is still known as legendary Buffalo Bills fan. My heart and prayers go out to his family and colleagues, as New York mourns the death of this great American.

CA GOV. Arnold Schwarzenegger: "Maria and I were deeply saddened to learn about the death of Tim Russert. Tim was an American icon in the world of political journalism who could relate to everybody. His insightful commentary and tough but fair interviews helped millions of Americans better understand our political system. It is hard to imagine a presidential election without Tim and his trademark graphics and questions on "Meet the Press." American politics and journalism will never be the same without him.

"But Tim was not only one of the top journalists of his generation; he was a close friend, a warm and generous person and a wonderful family man. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, Maureen, his son, Luke and his entire family."

Maria Shriver: "Tim Russert was one of my closest friends and he was like a brother to me. He was not only a professional confidant but a personal one. He was always the first person to call me whenever anything happened with my family. And he always called me just to check in and see how I was doing and to encourage me. My heart goes out to his son Luke, his wife Maureen, his father, sister and entire family. They were his joy in life; family and faith were everything to him. He was one of a kind to me and I was lucky enough to have had him as a best friend."

ABC ON RUSSERT: David Westin Statement
Tim Russert was a great newsman who helped set the standard for political reporting and public affairs programming. His fine work made all of us better and benefited the Nation as a result. Tim was also a great friend to so many of us. But above all, Tim was a man devoted to his family. Our thoughts and prayers are with them and everyone at NBC News at this devastating time.

More Stephanopoulos: Tim loved everything about politics and journalism -- because he believed in it. Every day he brought Washington home to his viewers and made all of us better. My thoughts and prayers are with his family -- especially Maureen, Luke and his father Russ.

Charlie Gibson: Tim projected vitality -- always excited about the stories he covered and intrigued by the people he interviewed. That's what made him so good, and his passing so hard to absorb. His competitors -- just like his co-workers -- held Tim in the highest of regard.

Cokie Roberts Statement: Tim Russert Was a great competitor and a good friend. I am obviously shocked and dismayed by this news and extend my thoughts and prayers to his son Luke -- he was so proud of you -- to his wife Maureen and to the rest of his family; especially his beloved father. Tim and I worked together on Catholic causes, and I will greatly miss him.

Diane Sawyer: No one could see Tim in a room and not smile. He brought so much joy and curiosity and sheer vitality to all our lives. As a journalist, he would set out like a great explorer. You couldn't wait to see what he discovered every day in the new world. He was a defining American newsman. Love of country, love of family poured through him--onto the screen, into the work, into stories at dinner, into the little chuckle that reminded us ---aren't we lucky to be here in this big life.

From the TODAY Show (May 19, 2008 - 7:05amET):
Lauer: All right, Tim Russert in Boston, where young Luke is set to graduate from Boston College.  Congratulations Tim.

Russert: Oh, I'm very proud to be his dad.

Mitch McConnell, KY (Repub leader):
"...He was regarded as perhaps the toughest, most fair-minded, and intellectually rigorous interviewer of our day. And I'm sure I speak for all elected officials when I say he always asked the question we hoped he wouldn't. Yet for all his achievements, Tim Russert always remained tethered to his middle-class upbringing and the good and decent people who made him who he was. But he will be remembered by many more Americans who knew him as a proud son of Buffalo, New York..."

Susan Collins (Maine): "...He was a keen political analyst who always asked tough questions to get to the bottom of a story. He became a fixture in American politics and was known as one of the hardest working journalists in his business..."

Saxby Chambliss (GA): "...To say that Tim Russert was the best of the best is an understatement. He was a brilliant journalist, he did his homework, and you knew going into an interview with him that he'd leave no stone unturned..."

George Voinovich (OH): "...Tim's genuine decency, humor and objective evaluation of news and politics made him one of the most beloved members of the American media. He had a special knack for asking the tough questions on the minds of Americans, and did so with a kindness and warmth that truly connected him with both his guests and his viewers...."

Mel Martinez (FL): "...Tim is a giant of journalism and an institution in Washington. He was clearly a man who took great pride in his work and he understood the serious nature of journalism. He also played a great role off-camera helping young people by volunteering his time with the Boys and Girls Club and America's Promise - Alliance for Youth. His insights will be missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family..."

Representative Thomas M. Reynolds (R-NY): "Buffalo has lost a favorite son, and our nation has a lost a giant of political journalism. Tim was my favorite sparring partner - he was always tough, always fair, and always cared about the issues. It's been a privilege to know Tim as a friend and colleague as we both got our start in Buffalo politics. My thoughts and prayers are with his wife Maureen, son Luke and father Big Russ at this difficult time."

MAYOR MICHAEL R. BLOOMBERG: "I was shocked and saddened to learn about the death of Tim Russert. I knew him as most Americans did - as a political commentator, an accomplished author, and without a doubt, one of the most influential journalists of our time. I also knew him on a more personal level as a man of incredible character, substance, and wit.
"I can only imagine the pain that his family must be feeling right now - and I extend my deepest condolences to his wife Maureen, and his son, Luke, who interned here at City Hall last year. Tim didn't just report on American politics - he played an active role in protecting the freedoms we hold so dear: free press, fair elections, and vigorous debate. He was a champion for honesty and truth, and he'll be dearly missed."

PELOSI: "Today, broadcast journalism lost one of its giants, who will be remembered along with names like Edward R. Murrow, Walter Cronkite, and David Brinkley. The City of Buffalo has also lost its favorite son, who loved his city and its hometown team, the Bills. The smile that came across Tim's face whenever he spoke of the place of his birth and his favorite football team was one of true joy and I will never forget it.

"Tim Russert embodied the very best in broadcast journalism and has been a fixture in millions of living rooms every Sunday morning on 'Meet the Press,' an institution that he shaped into one of the most influential news and opinion programs of our time. A stellar journalist, Tim also touched our hearts with his loving portrait of his father in the best-selling book, 'Big Russ and Me.'"

"To everyone at NBC News, who today lost not only a colleague, but a true friend, I offer my deepest condolences. Most of all, my thoughts are with Tim's wife, Maureen, and his son, Luke. I hope it is some comfort that so many throughout the world have the Russert family in their thoughts and prayers at this difficult time."

PRESIDENT BUSH: Laura and I are deeply saddened by the sudden passing of Tim Russert. Those of us who knew and worked with Tim, his many friends, and the millions of Americans who loyally followed his career on the air will all miss him.

As the longest-serving host of the longest-running program in the history of television, 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.

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. We will keep them in our prayers.

HUCKABEE: I join with other Americans in expressing both shock and grief with the news of Tim Russert's untimely death. He was a significant figure in American politics, deeply respected, but also deeply feared by those who sat across his table on "Meet the Press". He was fair, but always relentless in his pursuit of truth and honesty from those who dared to lead the nation. His has been a commanding voice in public affairs and in many ways the E.F. Hutton of political talk. Our prayers go out to his family and we will all mourn the loss of his voice.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid: "I was greatly saddened to learn of Tim Russert's untimely death. Tim was a warm and gracious family man with a great zest for life and an unsurpassed passion for his work. His rise from working-class roots to become a well-respected leader in political journalism is an inspiration to many. Tim asked the tough questions the right way and was the best in the business at keeping his interview subjects honest. My thoughts are with his family."

RICHARDSON: "I am deeply saddened by Tim's untimely passing and Barbara and I send our thoughts and prayers to his family.

"Tim set the standard for tough but fair political coverage and his contribution to the journalism profession cannot be overstated.  Because of him Meet the Press is the dominant Sunday talk show and a must-do for politicians.  He leaves big shoes to fill.

"On-camera he could be tough, but off-camera you saw his great sense of humor and how much he cared about people, especially his family. It's a great loss."

OBAMA: "I've known Tim Russert since I first spoke at the convention in 2004. He's somebody who, over time, I came to consider not only a journalist but a friend. There wasn't a better interviewer in TV, not a more thoughtful analyst of our politics, and he was also one of the finest men I knew. Somebody who cared about America, cared about the issues, cared about family. I am grief-stricken with the loss and my thoughts and prayers go out to his family. And I hope that, even though Tim is irreplaceable, that the standard that he set in his professional life and his family life are standards that we all carry with us in our own lives."

BIDEN (D-DE): "Tim Russert was a man of tremendous honor and integrity, with a great love of politics and a deep commitment to our country. Anyone who spent time around Tim could feel immediately the love he had for his family. Our nation lost a pillar of journalism today, but above all else, we lost a good and decent man."

"The Buffalo Bills organization is devastated in hearing the news of the passing of Tim Russert. Tim, as everyone knows, was a tremendous Bills fan. He was always so proud to let people know just how much he loved our team and was such a great ambassador for Buffalo. So many times he ended his "Meet The Press" show with his patented "Go Bills!" that it became part of our Game Day morning rituals. He was a true friend and we will miss him immensely. Our sincere sympathies go out to his family and our team carries a heavy heart tonight as we mourn the loss of this great man, Buffalo's native son and a Bills fan forever."

- House Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel:
"Tim Russert was the best in the business. He was a tough journalist who always asked the hard questions, and his insight and dedication to his craft earned him the respect of millions of viewers. America has lost a trusted voice and I'll miss the chance to talk politics with one of the best reporters I've had the privilege to know. My prayers are with the Russert family today."
- House Republican Whip Roy Blunt:
"It's hard to quantify the influence that Tim Russert has had over political discourse in this country today. And it's even harder to express the toll that his death will have on journalism for years to come. His commitment to the unbiased truth transformed Meet the Press into the premiere political news program of our day.
"But Tim Russert was more than his career. He was a man defined by his commitment to family and friends making him the giant that he truly was.
"As we mourn his passing and salute his enduring impact, I join my many colleagues in Congress in sending his entire family - his loving wife and son and his extended family at NBC - our thoughts and prayers."
- DCCC Chairman Chris Van Hollen:  "We are deeply saddened by the sudden loss of Tim Russert. America has lost one of the great models of integrity in journalism and a true political institution. We will miss his passion, humor, and unyielding commitment to seeking the truth.
  "On behalf of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, I extend my deepest condolences to his wife Maureen, his son Luke, and the entire Russert family. I hope it is of some comfort that the thoughts and prayers of so many are with them at this difficult time."

Bob Dole was the most freqent meet the press guest...
He and Elizabeth Dole sent this statement: "It is a shock. He was a great and longtime friend. No one was more fair and more objective than Tim Russert. Certainly our hearts go out to his family; his son, Luke; his wife, Maureen; and beloved father, Big Russ. He was today's giant in the world of television news. A great loss to his loyal viewers, to NBC, but above all to journalism across the board. "

Walter Cronkite: "Broadcast journalism lost one of its greats today. Tim Russert was a giant in our field - a standard-bearer of journalistic integrity and ethics. His masterful interviews and round-table discussions are legendary. This is a tragic loss for journalism and for all who were privileged to know him."

Written statement from Senator Ted Kennedy: "Tim Russert was a gentleman and giant, not just in politics and journalism, but in life. And through that life, he gave us all a model worth emulating. With a reasoned voice, a sharp mind and a fair hand, Tim took the measure of every Washington official and all those that sought to be one. He was a great journalist and an even better friend. His passing is a tragic loss for us all, but especially for the family he loved so much. Our thoughts and prayers are with Tim's wife Maureen and his son Luke."

Kerry Statement on Tim Russert
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Sen. John Kerry today released the following statement in response to the death of Tim Russert:
"Today's awful news about Tim Russert's sudden passing is a swift kick for everyone who knew, respected, and loved Tim and had the honor of sharing his company. It's hard to describe the shock. Tim was the best political newsman of his generation, and he was a trailblazer in the unique way he brought his personal love of politics, honed by Moynihan and Cuomo, right into our living rooms every Sunday. Tim was at once brilliant and insightful while always approachable, always accessible, and always your next door neighbor and your friend who was there to referee the debates of the big issues of our time. He relished that role and he excelled at it, as any one would who believed in the tenets of Jesuit education. He loved to hold the big guys accountable and in the original, intelligent, studied way he did it he emerged as the biggest guy of all. It is impossible to overstate how much Tim was inseparable from American politics. When I decided to announce for President, the only place to do it was on 'Meet the Press.' It is impossible to imagine political life without him as our guide every Sunday. But it is even more difficult to find the words to express our sympathy for Maureen, Luke, his father Big Russ, and Tim's family at NBC. Tim, Maureen, and their family will remain in our thoughts and prayers a long, long time."

KATIE COURIC: Tim Russert was so many different things. Tim was a big teddy bear of a guy, but he was also a pit bull of an interviewer.  He always held people's feet to the fire, often using their past words with great effect to reveal flip-flops or hypocrisy. While Tim was incredibly tenacious, he always did his job with great humanity and respect.

Tim was passionate about the political process and was, in many ways, the navigator-in-chief for so many people.  Because he was so knowledgeable, he was able to make politics accessible to millions. Tim gave me my first network break.  I was a local reporter at WRC in Washington, which shares a building with the NBC Washington bureau.  Tim asked me to come to his office one day and told me he admired my work, particularly my coverage of Marion Barry, who was then the mayor of D.C. He liked my "scrappiness" and asked if I was interested in becoming the deputy Pentagon correspondent.

He was one of the nicest, most generous colleagues I ever had the
pleasure of working with. I remember when Tim arranged a visit with the Pope when the "Today" show was in Rome-and Tim was the one behind the scenes making it happen. And I remember he was so full of pride. He never forgot where he came from.  In his heart, he was a kid from Buffalo who made it to the big time-but never got "too big for his britches," as my mother would say. I think he used his Dad, Big Russ, to take the temperature of the country.  And I remember how he used to call him to ask questions and get feedback.

But Tim really didn't have to do that because he was the consummate everyman who loved his family -- who was so proud of his wife Maureen and his son Luke -- and loved the Buffalo Bills, and this country.

STENY HOYER: "I was deeply saddened to hear today that NBC News' Washington Bureau Chief Tim Russert had passed away. Tim Russert was a consummate professional. Every Sunday, millions of viewers counted on Tim to cut through the clutter, to ask tough questions with even-handed fairness, and to elicit answers from key officials on the important issues that confront our nation. His death is an enormous loss for American journalism and for the civil, yet direct, discourse that is so important to our democracy. Today, my thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Maureen, and his son, Luke, and his family and many, many friends across the nation."

CARL BERNSTEIN: Tim Russert was a transformative journalist. He changed American television news, by bringing to it his own values: integrity, fairness, good humor, humility, and a unique sense of how reporting, history, and politics are bound together. He was masterful at exposing hypocrisy. I knew him as a source, a colleague, a competitor, and-on the air-- as the subject of his tough questions. His approach to every role was always the same: he loved what he did, and sought a way to the truth, often unconventionally.

"All of us at CBS News are incredibly saddened by this shocking news. Tim Russert was a giant in our industry and was universally respected for his talent as a journalist, his perspective and his integrity. There wasn't a better interviewer on television, someone who was tough but always fair. There is today a void in our industry and in our hearts. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and all of his many colleagues."
* * *
"Tim was the best of our profession. He asked the best questions and then he listened for the answer. We became very close friends over the years. He delighted in scooping me and I felt the same way when I scooped him. When you slipped one past ol' Russert, you felt as though you had hit a home run off the best pitcher in the league. I just loved Tim and I will miss him more than I can say, and my heart goes out to his son, Luke, and his wife, Maureen."
* * *
"Broadcast journalism lost one of its greats today. Tim Russert was a giant in our field - a standard-bearer of journalistic integrity and ethics. His masterful interviews and round-table discussions are legendary. This is a tragic loss for journalism and for all who were privileged to know him."

Governor Mario M. Cuomo: June 13, 2008, 6:00pm:
The Cuomos were privileged to have known Tim Russert for more than 25 years.  We are shocked and saddened by his sudden death while at work at the peak of his career. Our hearts go out to Maureen, Luke, and the entire Russert Family. America has lost a vital source of information, analysis and wisdom when we need it most.

Tim's extraordinary success was more than enough to earn him respect, but he added to that a genuineness as a human being that made him as easy to like as he was to admire. The son of a hardworking sanitation worker in Buffalo, New York, a middle class, polyglot, multi-ethnic community where people worked hard, went to church or synagogue, loved a good meal and a good ball game even more. He was reverential regarding his Father.
He was devoted to his wife of almost 25 years, Maureen Orth, the Vanity Fair journalist and author, as he was to his twenty-two year old son, Luke, who graduated from Boston College this year, providing him with the same kind of profound love given Tim by his own Dad.
Tim never forgot where he came from.  He never let us forget either, and we loved it!
His name will forever be recorded in the annals of great professional reporters and journalists... as it will be in our minds and hearts.

JOHN EDWARDS: A great man has been lost. It is not just that our system depends on intelligent, persistent, fair-minded journalists, and Tim was one. It is not just that the civility of our political interchange requires dignity and respect and - it is also true - compassion, and that Tim was a model of each of these. It is not just that the manner in which we treasure and respect our essential personal relationships is the real mark of character, and that Tim was an exemplary son and husband and father. It is that too few among us reach for all these things and even fewer attain them. We were blessed to have had his friendship and companionship. We were all blessed to have his wisdom and vision and to have shared his joy for life. Tim will be missed today and tomorrow and next year and the year after and in a decade and for even longer than that. Elizabeth and I will miss him.

Sample of sign-offs: A small sampling of Tim's family values pitches in his Meet the Press sign-offs:

Sign-off: Meet the Press Sunday, May 11, 2008

MR. RUSSERT:  If it's Sunday, it's Meet the Press. Don't forget to call home and tell your mama you love her. Happy Mother's Day.


Sign-off: Meet the Press Father's Day 2003
MEET THE PRESS 15 June 2003

MR. RUSSERT: That's all for today. We'll be back next week. If it's Sunday, it's MEET THE PRESS. Happy Father's Day, especially to Big Russ up in Buffalo. And, Luke, I'm real proud to be your dad.

TIM - THIS YEAR  - Before Luke's graduation.
Sign Off Meet the Press - Sun., May. 18, 2008

MR. RUSSERT: If it's Sunday, it's MEET THE PRESS. Congratulations to the Boston College Class of 2008, one guy in particular.


Sign-off: Meet the Press  - 16 December 2007

MR. RUSSERT: If it's Sunday, it's MEET THE PRESS. Go Bills, beat those Browns.


Sign-off: NBC's Meet the Press
8 October 2006

MR. TIM RUSSERT: If it's Sunday, it's MEET THE PRESS. Go Bills, beat the Bears!


Sign-off: NBC's Meet the Press
17 September 2006
Meet the Press
MR. TIM RUSSERT: Congratulations to the BC Eagles and Tom O'Brien, the winningest coach in history. Go Bills, squish the fish.