In a statement detailing autopsy results, Dr. Michael Newman said his famous patient had passed a stress test on April 29 and had even worked out on a treadmill the morning of his death.
"Russert, age 58, was known to have asymptomatic coronary
artery disease (atherosclerosis), which resulted in hardening of his coronary arteries," Newman said. "The autopsy revealed an enlarged heart and significant
atherosclerosis of the left anterior descending coronary artery with (a) fresh clot which caused a heart attack resulting in a fatal ventricular arrhythmia."
Russert's stress test on April 29 was "normal," Newman said. "At a high level of exercise he had no symptoms," Newman said, adding that his blood pressure and cholesterol were "well-controlled."
On Saturday morning, President Bush said he was privileged to have been interviewed by Russert.
"America lost a really fine citizen yesterday when Tim Russert passed away. I've had the privilege of being interviewed by Tim Russert. I found him to be a hard working, thorough decent man. And Tim Russert, you know, loved his country, he loved his family, he loved his job a lot."
Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama said he was "grief-stricken" over the news when he spoke to reporters on his plane just before he left Columbus, Ohio.
Obama said he had known Russert since Obama's speech to the Democratic National Convention in 2004 in Boston.
"I considered him not only a journalist but a friend," Obama said. "There wasn't a better interviewer on television, a more thoughtful analysts about politics." He was "one of the finest men I know," said Obama. "I am grief-stricken with loss and my thoughts and prayers go out to his family."
Former President Clinton and Sen.