'Gwen would want me to get this together,' he said after taking a pause to compose himself
Credit: William B. Plowman/Getty Images; Michael Kovac/Getty Images

Journalists and politicians alike are paying their respects Monday after the death of veteran news anchor Gwen Ifill at age 61. Among them is her former colleague Pete Williams, who became emotional while reporting on Ifill’s passing.

“Well… this is a tough duty here, because Gwen was a dear friend, a former NBC colleague, she was,” Williams said live on MSNBC, before having to pause as he choked up. “Pardon me, she was… Gwen would want me to get this together.”

Williams soon composed himself and went on to praise Ifill and her long list of achievements, noting, “She had so many rewards and awards in her office that you could barely see out the window.”

Ifill’s contributions as a political journalist included cohosting PBS’ Newshour and moderating the 2004 and 2008 vice-presidential debates. “I think she would have found what’s going on here in the last week or so to be fascinating, and I wish she was around to give us her insights,” Williams said.

Watch the video above.