Cokie Roberts Dies; Legendary Journalist Was 75

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Sad news out of the world of journalism today.

Multiple outlets have now confirmed the death of iconic pundit and author Cokie Roberts.

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A family spokesperson says Roberts passed away due to complications from breast cancer.

She was 75 years old.

Roberts was an indispensable figure in the early days of National Public Radio, joining the upstart network as a political commentator in 1978.

From there, she helped NPR grow into the institution that it is today, while simultaneously fostering a multimedia career that made her one of the most trusted names in TV news throughout the 1980s and '90s.

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Having just one woman at the helm of a major media outlet was unusual in the 1970s.

But Roberts helped to spearhead a female-led revolution at NPR.

"[W]e called them the Founding Mothers of NPR, or sometimes we called them the Fallopian Club," said NPR political correspondent Mara Liasson.

"It is such a privilege — you have a front seat to history," she said.

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Born into a politically-engaged family, Roberts was the daughter of two former U.S. representatives.

Though Roberts was the only member of her immediate family not to run for Congress, her incisive reporting and unparalleled ability to translate complex, wonky issues for an audience of millions enabled her to make a unique contribution to the American political landscape.

"You do get used to it, and you shouldn't, because it is a very special thing to be able to be in the room ... when all kinds of special things are happening," Roberts once remarked in an interview.

"I do feel strongly that informing the voters about what's going on, trying to explain it in ways that people can understand and putting the issues out there is a form of participation."

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Throughout her career, Roberts was applauded for her objectivity and her fairness in dealing with Democrats and Republicans alike

"She liked people on both sides of the aisle and had friends on both sides of the aisle," renowned journalist George Will told NPR.

"If you don't like the game of politics, I don't see how you write about it well," he added. "She liked the game of politics and she understood that it was a game."

These days the media landscape is both more crowded and more divided than ever before.

But one common trait you'll find among the denizens of that increasingly tumultuous world is a profound respect for the work and influence of Cokie Roberts.

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