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5 Jul, 2018 17:30

Legendary anchor Ed Schultz dead at 64

Ed Schultz, host of ‘News with Ed’ on RT America, passed away on July 5 at his home in Washington, DC. The veteran radio and television broadcaster was 64.

This announcement comes as a shock to all of us.

Ed was for decades a prominent sports and political radio commentator and personality in the upper Midwest. After several years as one of the most watched anchormen on MSNBC Ed moved to RT America in January of 2016. “The News with Ed Schultz” aired weeknights from Monday – Thursday at 8 PM Eastern Time. Ed’s broadcast was the flagship show at RT.

“We are devastated by the news of the sudden death of our brilliant anchor, one of the best TV journalists in America, Ed Schultz," said RT Editor in Chief Margarita Simonyan.

The respect that Ed commanded among viewers and among his colleagues on both sides of the Atlantic is impossible to overstate. He was an unconditional patriot of his country, an honest and principled man.

"When the campaign against RT America began and the channel was forced to register as a foreign agent, Ed set an example for all of us, saying: 'Let them call me what they want, I am going to speak the truth no matter what',” Simonyan added.

Ed’s time at RT America was marked by several high profile news events, which showcased his talents and experience as a newsman. In February 2016 Ed interviewed Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church on the first ever occasion of his meeting with the Roman Catholic Pope in history. In June 2016 Ed covered the Brexit vote for RT America out of our affiliate studios in London, with Larry King co-hosting the coverage from the US. Ed reported live from the Red Square in Moscow in May of 2017 during Russia’s 72nd anniversary of the Victory Day, one of the first such newscasts for a leading American news anchor.

WATCH: Remembering Ed Schultz: RT America anchor’s greatest stories

He returned to the United Kingdom in June 2017 to cover the UK’s general election from Edinburgh – the vote that saw Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party return to prominence. Ed also served as head anchor for numerous RT America special coverage shows, including the 2016 US election and President Donald Trump’s decision to carry out airstrikes against Syria in April 2017.

Ed was more than a colleague, he was a close and true friend. He was a big-time professional and a tough fighter. Between us I always called him a 'gladiator.' He would never give up; he was always a winner. He was tough on a lot of young journalists in RT America’s newsroom; he was a mentor to a few,” said RT America News Director Mikhail Solodovnikov.

My sincere condolences go out to his wife, family and all fans, who watched his amazing show every night. We lost one of the best and most honest journalistic voices in America. We lost a legend.

Ed Schultz’s impact on the news industry will be felt for years. His work gave voice to workers and labor unions. To American workers Ed was a champion and someone they could count on for support. Ed spoke inconvenient truths when it came to foreign policy and America’s role in the world. Ed wanted the United States to be a role model to the world and to its own citizens. He spoke out when he saw his country betraying that ideal. For this he faced constant pressure from the American mainstream news media. 

Above all else Ed was an individual who created and maintained strong relationships with his viewers and his co-workers. Ed was universally praised by the hundreds of individuals he interviewed over the years for his ability to ask tough questions, think creatively, and give his opponents the benefit of the doubt. There were few in the news industry as respected as Ed Schultz.To his friends and colleagues and to the staff at RT he was known as “Big Eddy.” His proud voice and imposing presence motivated us to do our best in a stressful industry during a stressful and turbulent period. Ed was a motivator and someone who would set you straight if you were not meeting your potential; but he was kind, caring, and the kind of person you could open up to. Ed will be missed.           

Ed’s family asks for privacy during this time of grieving.