The news that the great Tim Russert passed away so abruptly, hit me surprisingly hard today. I’m an admitted and unabashed national news junkie, and right now, this feels like my uncle has passed or something. I can’t imagine Sunday, or good grief, watching the upcoming election coverage — without him.

Tim Russert was a rare breed. He was a truly diligent journalist who was brave enough to ask the tough questions. He almost always hit his mark. This is a huge loss for his family, for NBC news, for journalism, for America. It’s heartbreaking that he won’t get to moderate these upcoming debates, and see whoever wins this important and historic election.

Andrea Mitchell just interviewed Russert’s physician, Michael Newman, about the cause of his death — sudden coronary thrombosis, despite Russert’s best efforts to exercise, maintain control over his high blood pressure. He struggled with his weight, and to find time to take care of himself. “He’d always say “Tomorrow. I’m going to start tomorrow, doc,” his doctor said, before admitting there was no indication of this coming at all. Russert passed a stress test in April, and just this morning, worked out on his treadmill. Heartbreaking, and scary. A wake up call for myself and so many of us who say to ourselves, tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow.

Click here to watch an hour-long interview that Charlie Rose did in 2001, to commemorate a decade of Russert hosting Meet the Press. Warning, the audio’s out of sync and pretty loud. And yeah, the interview clocks in at 57 minutes long. But it’s a charming, interesting exchange between two energetic, engaged peers. For a newshound, it’s fascinating stuff.

Rest in Peace, Tim Russert. Sundays won’t be the same without you.

** On November 11, 2007, Tim Russert hosted Senator Barack Obama on Meet the Press, and it was memorable and lengthy. Click here for part one of that interview. Click here for Politico.com’s list of memorable Russert moments.

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