Gwen Ifill, the award-winning journalist and anchor of the public television news programs “PBS NewsHour” and “Washington Week” whose career included moderating the vice presidential debates in 2004 and 2008, died of cancer Monday, according to a statement released by PBS. She was 61.

Citing health problems, Ifill had taken a two-month leave of absence from her duties at PBS in April while she was undergoing treatment, but she returned in May. In early November, she again went on leave from the network for health reasons.

“Gwen was one of America’s leading lights in journalism and a fundamental reason public media is considered a trusted window on the world by audiences across the nation,” Paula Kerger, president and chief executive of PBS, said in a statement. “Her contributions to thoughtful reporting and civic discourse simply cannot be overstated.”

On Wednesday, Ifill had been scheduled to be presented with the John Chancellor Award by the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, an honor that recognizes cumulative career accomplishments in the field. Ifill was to be the first African American to accept the award in its 21-year history.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>