Gwen Ifill, a pioneering and award-winning broadcast journalist, died Monday at 61 from cancer.
"She was terrific from the minute she landed," said Larry Kramer, chairman of TheStreet Inc., who hired her from the Baltimore Evening Sun in the early eighties when he was an assistant managing editor on the metro desk of the Washington Post. "She was one of my proudest hires."
Kramer noted that Ifill advanced quickly at the Post because of her "relentless questions that led her to the most cerebral newscast on the air."
Ifill was the moderator and managing editor of PBS's "Washington Week" and the co-anchor and co-managing editor of the network's "NewsHour." Ifill and Judy Woodruff, her NewsHour co-anchor, moderated a Democratic debate between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders this year.
"It is with extreme sadness that we share the news that Gwen Ifill passed away earlier today surrounded by family and friends," wrote Paula Kerger, the public television network's CEO and president in a statement on Twitter.
"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," added Kerger. "Her contributions to thoughtful reporting and civic discourse simply cannot be overstated."
Ifill was a preacher's daughter from Queens, N.Y., who graduated from Simmons College in Boston and often said her job was to bring light rather than heat to issues of importance to American society.
She also worked for the New York Times, NBC and was the author of "The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama," which was published on inauguration day in 2009.