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Was Gwen Ifill Married When She Died?

Gwen Ifill, Gwen Ifill democratic debate

Gwen Ifill accepts a Lifetime Achievement award in November 2015. (Getty)

Legendary journalist Gwen Ifill has died at the age of 61. With PBS fans everywhere mourning her loss, many are wondering about the loved ones she has left behind. Was the PBS broadcaster married, and did she have any kids?

Ifill was not married, nor did she have any children. In fact, Ifill never married; when asked about this, she once said that it’s not that she was swearing off marriage, but that she just figured it would happen one day.

“I don’t know why I’m not married,” she said in 2008, according to TIME. “I just know I will be, so I don’t sweat it.”

Ifill kept herself quite busy throughout an incredibly impressive career, so it’s possible she just never had the time for marriage. She started off working for the Boston Herald-American, going on to write for The Washington Post and The New York Times. In 1999, she made her transition into broadcast journalism, hosting PBS’ Washington Week in Review. She also hosted PBS NewsHour. If you don’t watch PBS, you may recognize her from vice presidential debates; she moderated a debate between Dick Cheney and John Edwards in 2004, as well as one between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin in 2008.

Though she wasn’t married, Ifill had plenty of family, as the reporter had five siblings. Her parents were both immigrants, with her father being from Panama and her mother being from Barbados. Overall, though, Ifill kept her personal life private, almost never discussing her personal relationships.

The PBS journalist was not present during the network’s election coverage last week. It was not widely known why she was gone at the time, but we now know that it was due to health issues. Ifill had been quietly battling cancer, and she died in hospice care after several months of treatment. Politico reports that she was surrounded by family and friends when she died on November 14th.

Ifill was widely respected especially by those in Washington, with politicians on both sides of the aisle mourning her death on Monday.

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29 comments

  1. Broke into tears upon hearing of Ms Gwen Ifill passing. A great loss for all, especially her role model for young ladies. Hugs to her family & friends. With great respect, RIP..

  2. I am so saddened to learn of the death of Gwen Ifill. When other reporters abandoned objective journalism for advocacy of one candidate or another, Gwen was a stalwart of the highest, most objective, and the most trusted of any new reporter that I have ever heard. She will be deeply missed. Also I extend my condolences for her family and her on-air partner, Judy Woodruff, who must be grieving deeply from their loss.

  3. Gwen Ifill was a main reason I listened to PBS. An extraordinarily keen mind. She was direct with the arrogant and offered genuine compassion to the suffering. A wonderful and lovely lady.

  4. I will greatly miss Gwen and her talented reporting. For me, she was THE voice of reason – someone I could trust to tell the truth. Her death feels like the loss of a family member that I listened to every day. Best wishes to those of her real family and to the nation who still needs her voice.

  5. I’m so sad to learn of Gwen Ifill’s passing. Whenever I want to hear or see quality journalism, I turned to her. My condolences to her love ones, colleagues and friends.

    • I became aware of Gwen Ifill during the coverage of the 2008 presidential election. I was so impressed by her knowledge of the issues, her integrity as a journalist, and her fairness as a debate moderator. She was one of the last of her kind, a journalist who objectively informed the public of the news without any hint of bias. Now, more than ever, her voice is needed. I will miss her seeing her presence grace the airwaves. May she rest in peace. I offer my condolences to her loved ones.

  6. Gwen was PBS News for me. Washington Week in Review has not been the same this past few weeks without her. I was shocked to hear of her death a few minutes ago on NPR. She has been my favorite journalistic for many years. Peace and love. Felis Otero Armijo.

  7. I still cannot believe that Gwen Ifill passed away. Gwen Ifill was the best journalist that I like watching in PBS. Her journalistic style was elegant and great. I pray for the Ifill’s family so that God can strengthen and give them courage and peace in this sorrow time.

  8. We cannot lose a journalist like Gwen. Many should follow her example, in her honor. Gwen, wherever you have gone, save seats for the rest of us. You are an inspiration and a gift.

  9. Though we never met in person, and never saw her at any public event, Gwen Ifill was always in our living room for the PBS evening news. She was part of our household. She was very articulate, self-assured and majestic at her art. My spouse nearly fainted when we heard the news of her passing on the TV. Of course, our pain is without measure, and Gwen shall perpetually remain in our memory. Dwell in perfect peace, Gwen.

  10. I was watching PBS NEWS HOUR when her Co-Anchors announced her Passing. I was in shock and cried in disbelief! I especially cried even more when I saw the Anchors tearing up as well. She was one of the BEST. I never knew that seeing her moderate with the others during BOTH Convention would be the last time we saw her beautiful smile and Spirit of pleasantry. Being a Cancer Survivor and seeing all that have died in these most recent years and now her has sharpened my resolve to push for more funding for ALL CANCER INITIATIVES! PRAYERS TO HER FAMILY, FRIENDS and NEWS ANCHORS / COLLEAGUES. In loving MEMORY. Blessings🌷🌷🌷

  11. So sorry to hear that Gwen Ifill has passed on. I really looked forward to her coming into my living room each day when I watched the PBS Newshour. She was a grand and lovely lady and will be so missed. RIP Gwen.

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  12. Gwen Ifills passing was a shocking. I have always watched the news PBS most of the time. She broke many barriers as an News Reporter being that of an american black woman, whom emerge from the field of reporting and helped others along her careers, to become great commentators in of time. Thank you is the word I would say and hope that one day its never too late to still reach that goal you had always wished you did. so long.

  13. Gwen was like a family member. What a legacy of pure greatness and dignity. My deepest sympathy to her family and especially Judy her co- host and the entire PBS staff. R.I.P.