Ifill became the host of PBS' Washington Week in 1999 and had been co-anchor on PBS NewsHour since 2013. As an author, she wrote the book The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama, which examined African-American politicians and the changing landscape of politics and race.
"It is with extreme sadness that we share the news that Gwen Ifill passed away earlier today surrounded by family and friends," PBS president and CEO Paula Kerger said in a statement. "Gwen was one of America's leading lights in journalism and a fundamental reason public media is considered a trusted window on the world by audiences across the nation. Her contributions to thoughtful reporting and civic discourse simply cannot be overstated. She often said that her job was to bring light rather than heat to issues of importance to our society. Gwen did this with grace and a steadfast commitment to excellence. Our sorrow at her passing is a part of our profound gratitude for all that she did for our system and our nation. It was an honor to know Gwen and to work with her. All of us at PBS express our sincere condolences to Gwen's friends and family."
Ifill started her career at the Baltimore Evening Sun, and also worked for The Washington Post and The New York Times.
She had been battling breast cancer.