September 17, 2019

Statement on the Passing of Cokie Roberts

It is with great sadness that I acknowledge the passing of one of the titans of American journalism, national political analyst Cokie Roberts. Cokie was not only a brilliant, award-winning reporter, best-selling author, and revered political commentator, she was a staunch, long-time supporter of NIH. In particular, she was deeply involved with the Children’s Inn, NIH’s home-away-from-home for our pediatric patients and their families. Cokie was part of the Inn’s leadership team, most recently serving as Secretary for the Board of Directors, and she helped guide and support the Inn since its earliest beginnings. She lit up every room she entered, and she was also a close personal friend to my wife Diane and me.  I can think of almost no one, in or outside Washington, who was more loved and respected. I will miss her dearly, as will so many at NIH and across the biomedical research and patient community. We at NIH were honored to be involved in her medical care as she battled breast cancer, and we deeply wish that we could have found a way to keep her in our midst a while longer. On behalf of our community, I want to extend my deepest sympathies to her husband, Steve, their children Lee and Rebecca, grandchildren, and entire family. We have lost a legend, who lived up to every superlative ever used to describe her.

Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D.
Director, National Institutes of Health