There are celebrities and public figures whose deaths cause you to pause because of the ways in which they have touched your life with their work. Then there are people like Tim Russert, who was one of those rare journalists who managed to maintain credibility and trust while simultaneously endearing himself to people on both sides of the political aisle, and who became such a fixture in American politics and journalism that his death today at age 58 leaves me stunned.
I am not a regular, dedicated viewer of Meet the Press, yet even my semi-regular tuning in of the show left me impressed with Russert's vast knowledge and thoughtful insights. I caught Russert more frequently on MSNBC, and I particularly enjoyed watching his election coverage over the years.
The passing of such a worthwhile human being as Tim Russert is like a right cross to the gut to me, and I am more than saddened as I consider the loss to the world of journalism and - more importantly - to the millions of people like me who came to depend on Russert for objective analysis and challenging interviews.
Goodbye, Tim Russert - you will be missed in ways you can never know.