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Gwen Ifill, legendary PBS reporter, is dead at 61

2012 Summer TCA Tour - Day 2 Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Gwen Ifill, a veteran journalist and news anchor with the Public Broadcasting Service, is dead at 61, PBS reported Monday. She died of cancer.

"I am very sad to tell you that our dear friend and beloved colleague Gwen Ifill passed away today in hospice care in Washington," WETA president and CEO Sharon Percy Rockefeller wrote to staff Monday, according to Politico. "I spent an hour with her this morning and she was resting comfortably, surrounded by loving family and friends. ... Earlier today, I conveyed to Gwen the devoted love and affection of all of us at WETA/NewsHour. Let us hold Gwen and her family even closer now in our hearts and prayers."

Ifill was originally scheduled to anchor election night coverage, but the week before Election Day PBS announced she was on an unspecified medical leave; Ifill was also out for two months earlier this year to receive medical treatment.

On Wednesday, Ifill was set to receive the 2016 John Chancellor Award from Columbia University, an event that had recently been postponed.

She was a longtime reporter, having worked at the Washington Post, the New York Times, and NBC throughout her career. While the moderator of PBS’s Washington Week, Ifill moderated multiple election debates, including both the 2004 and 2008 vice presidential debates and one Democratic primary debate between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton.

She was also the author of The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama.

“Gwen was a standard bearer for courage, fairness and integrity in an industry going through seismic change,” said PBS NewsHour executive producer Sara Just, in a statement obtained by the Root. “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.”

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