Veteran Times sportswriter Mike Penner dead
Mike Penner, the veteran Los Angeles Times sportswriter who made international headlines in 2007 when he announced he was transsexual and began working under the byline "Christine Daniels," has died.
Colleagues said today that Penner was found dead at his Los Angeles home and that suicide was the suspected cause of death. He was 52.
"He was one of the most talented writers I've ever worked with," said Times Sports Editor Mike James, adding that Penner covered numerous beats including the National Football League and sports media during his more than two-decade-long career at the paper.
"He was a gentle man, a kind man," James said. "It's just a tragedy."
Penner garnered much support and some criticism when he announced he was a "transsexual sportswriter."
"During my 23 years with The Times' sports department, I have held a wide variety of roles and titles. Tennis writer. Angels beat reporter. Olympics writer. Essayist. Sports media critic. NFL columnist. Recent keeper of the Morning Briefing flame. Today I leave for a few weeks' vacation, and when I return, I will come back in yet another incarnation. As Christine," he wrote. "I am a transsexual sportswriter. It has taken more than 40 years, a million tears and hundreds of hours of soul-wrenching therapy for me to work up the courage to type those words. I realize many readers and colleagues and friends will be shocked to read them."
Penner ended up blogging about his transition and later wrote a Times sports blog. In 2008, he began using the "Mike Penner" byline again.
Read the full Times' obituary here. A colleague shares some memories of Penner here and invites readers' thoughts.
The Mike Penner story:
- When someone is trapped inside the wrong body
- A writer's transformation makes the personal public
- NPR interviews Christine Daniels (audio)
- Old Mike, new Christine
- Recent sports stories by Penner
- Archive of Penner's Totally Random column
-- Shelby Grad