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San Diego journalist dead in apparent suicide

December 9, 2010 |  4:51 pm


A prominent San Diego journalist is dead at the age of 52 in an apparent suicide, according to the county medical examiner.

Michael Portantino, longtime publisher of San Diego's Gay and Lesbian Times, was found dead Wednesday night after apparently jumping from a seven-story hotel near Balboa Park, officials said.

Portantino had reportedly been depressed since his newspaper was forced to close because of financial problems.

"He was tenacious, a fighter, but it just got to be too much for him," said Nicole Murray-Ramirez, a longtime columnist for the newspaper.

Murray-Ramirez said Portantino "brought gay journalism into the modern world" with coverage of nightlife, politics and social issues.

Reporters for mainstream publications often sought out Portantino when they needed information or comments about issues involving the gay and lesbian community.

Portantino is survived by a daughter.

--Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo: Michael Portantino. Credit: Facebook