PBS confirms that veteran journalist and newscaster Gwen Ifill has died at the age of 61.

gwen ifill
PBS Newscaster Gwen Ifill Dead at 61

Ifill was a trailblazer and elder stateswoman of journalism. She will be sorely missed.

A note from Sara Just, PBS NewsHour executive producer and WETA SVP

“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.

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.”

She was set to receive Columbia’s Chancellor Award on Wednesday night, but the event was postponed, Michael Calderone tweeted.

The Washington Post reports Ifill lost her battle to cancer, her friend Michele Norris said. She died today at a hospice center in Washington D.C.