Gwen Ifill on April 11, 2011 in New York City.

Gwen Ifill, a longtime PBS News anchor, died on Monday, November 14, WETA president and CEO Sharon Percy Rockefeller has confirmed. She was 61.

“I am very sad to tell you that our dear friend and beloved colleague Gwen Ifill passed away today in hospice care in Washington,” Rockefeller wrote in an email to staff on Monday, Politico reports. “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.”

The prominent African-American journalist, who moderated two vice president debates in 2004 and 2008, as well as a primary debate between Senator Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton earlier this year, took a leave of absence last week during the election and in May due to health issues related to cancer.

“Gwen was a standard bearer for courage, fairness and integrity in an industry going through seismic change. 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,” PBS NewsHour executive producer Sara Just said in a statement to Politico. “So many people in the audience felt that they knew and adored her. She had a tremendous combination of warmth and authority. She was stopped on the street routinely by people who just wanted to give her a hug and considered her a friend after years of seeing her on TV. We will forever miss her terribly.”

Ifill, who graduated from Simmons College in Boston, worked for The Washington Post, The New York Times and NBC before she first became a moderator for PBS’ Washington Week in Review in 1999. Ifill, who also penned best-selling book The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama, was scheduled to receive the 2016 John Chancellor Award from Columbia University on Wednesday, November 16.

Katie Couric and more celebs have taken to social media to remember the journalist:


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