NBC News has confirmed that Tim Russert, host of Meet the Press, NBC’s Washington bureau chief, and, according to at least two news outlets, the person who coined “red state” and “blue state,” has died of a sudden heart attack at the age of 58. While Russert had a long and distinguished career, we might most fondly remember him for his gleefully wielded white board on election night in 2000, trying to make sense of the electoral nightmare unfolding in real time. That was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a journalist–and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for viewers to watch a journalist as good as Russert wrestle with it. Of course, he was always pretty great on The Daily Show, too, dissecting complicated political issues with humor and panache. It’s hard to imagine the 2008 election without him.