Timothy Joseph Russert, father of the late "Meet the Press" moderator Tim Russert, died Thursday night from natural causes at the age of 85. A statement from the family said he passed away peacefully with relatives by his side.
"While he was affectionately known to the world as 'Big Russ,' he carried no more important nor meaningful titles than those of father, grandfather, great-grandfather, patriot and friend," the statement said.
In 2004, the younger Russert wrote about his relationship with his father in the best-selling book "Big Russ and Me." Reaction from readers inspired the follow-up, "Wisdom of Our Fathers: Lessons and Letters from Daughters and Sons" in 2006.
The younger Russert, who was also NBC News' Washington bureau chief, passed away suddenly in June 2008, after collapsing at the bureau. His son, Luke Russert, joined the network as a correspondent in July 2008.
The Russert family asks for donations to be made to the Alzheimer's Association in lieu of flowers.