.- Tim Russert, host of NBC Newsâ âMeet the Press,â collapsed and died yesterday in a Washington newsroom â two short days after he attended the Popeâs General Audience on a family vacation to Italy.
NBC has reported that Russert, originally from Buffalo, NY, had ruptured an artery causing his death at the age of 58.
Russert, known for his intense interviews and as a best-selling author, had just returned from a trip to Italy with his wife and son. According to Politico.com, on Wednesday he attended Pope Benedictâs weekly General Audience in St. Peterâs Square.
This visit wasnât the first time he had gone out of his way to visit a Pontiff.
The Chicago Tribune called Russert âan observant Catholicâ who was invited to meet Pope Benedict during his visit to the U.S. last April. CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer, also from Buffalo, told the Tribune that as they waited for the Holy Father to arrive, âRussert was excitedly clutching his rosary and beaming.â
âThis wasn't Tim Russert, the powerful anchor and moderator of 'Meet the Press,' it was just little Timmy from Buffalo.â Blitzer continued, âHe looked at me before the pope came in and said, 'Can you believe it, two kids from Buffalo are about to meet the pope?'â
Politico.com also reported that during a graduation address Russert gave last year to students at Washington University in St. Louis, he described meeting John Paul II. âAs the Pope approached me, you heard this tough, no-nonsense, hard-hitting moderator of âMeet the Pressâ begin our conversation by saying, âBless me, Father.â And he took my arm and said, âYou are the man called Timothy from NBC.â I said: âI am YOUR GUY. Donât forget this face.ââ
The announcement of Russertâs death was made by NBC news anchor Tom Brokaw. He recalled Russertâs strong work ethic and devotion to his family.