Tim Russert: Why He Died

UPDATE: Seems Tim Russert’s death couldn’t have been prevented and signs of impending doom escaped even his doctors. People magazine reports the iconic journalist had recently been examined and had passed a stress test, even working out on a treadmill on the morning of his passing.

“Russert, age 58, was known to have asymptomatic coronary artery disease (atherosclerosis), which resulted in hardening of his coronary arteries,” Dr. Michael Newman said of the autopsy results.

The disease was finally discovered in the left anterior descending artery—one well known among pathologists as the widowmaker.

CNBC correspondent John Harwood, had seen Russert on his final day: ”We walked out of the taping and said, ‘You know, I don’t think Tim felt very well’…I knew he was tired, but I didn’t think much of it.”

And the rest, to the world’s wrenching loss, is history. Below is beloved son Luke recalling his dad on Today with Matt Lauer.

Long regarded as a heavyweight in U.S. political circles, Tim Russert passed away today of an apparent heart attack, his family has told the New York Times. He was 58.

NBC’s Tom Brokaw broke into programming at 3:39 p.m. and said his colleague had collapsed and died early this afternoon while at work in the network’s Washington news bureau. He had just returned from Italy with his family.

“Our beloved colleague,” a somber Mr. Brokaw said with reverence, adding that he “worked to the point of exhaustion…This news division will not be the same without his strong, clear voice.”

Russert hosted the iconic Meet the Press on NBC since 1991, fast becoming known for hard-hitting sit-downs that elicited truths from even the most guarded political figures. He became a fixture on the political scene, recently moderating several of the current presidential debates.

Russert came to journalistic prominence after serving in the inner circles of New York governor Mario Cuomo and Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan.

He is survived by his wife Maureen Orth, a fellow journalist and longtime Vanity Fair staffer, and their son, Luke Russert, who hosts an XM Satellite Radio sports talk show with politico James Carville. The family had been in Italy celebrating Luke’s graduation from Boston College.