Russert died after collapsing in the Washington bureau of NBC News Friday. He was 58.
"I was shocked and saddened to hear about the passing of Tim Russert and the country has lost one of the best and fairest journalists to ever sit in a TV studio," Sharpton, president of National Action Network, said in a statement. "I saw him recently and he told me fondly that people still approached him and called him 'Brother Russert,' which was a title I came up with on an appearance of 'Meet the Press' several years ago. I have done his show several times and he was tough but fair and was one of the few journalists that one actually prepared to face because you knew he was the best prepared talk show host of his time. All the while, he never stopped being a gentleman. He will be missed and he will always be respected."