Los Angeles Times sports writer Mike Penner, a transsexual known as Christine Daniels, has died at the age of 52. Penner’s death is reportedly a suicide. Read more on Mike Penner aka Christine Daniels’ death below.
Mike Penner was pronounced dead on Friday at a California hospital. There will be an autopsy and official cause of death by the LA coroner.
The Times reports that Mike Penner aka Christine Daniels, was believed to have committed suicide. Penner began using the name Mike Penner again last year.
Mike Penner covered Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the Olympics, World Cup soccer, tennis and other sports.
“Mike was one of the most talented writers I’ve ever worked with, capable of reporting on any number of topics with great wit and style. He was a very gentle man who will be greatly missed. This is a tragic ending and a difficult time for all of us who knew him,” said Times Sports Editor Mike James.
Times Editor Russ Stanton said Penner “respected our readers a great deal, enough to share with them his very personal journey.”
Mike Penner wrote openly about his experience as he changed over from Mike Penner to Christine Daniels. He wrote a story for the Times called “Old Mike, New Christine” in April 26, 2007, and wrote how he was taking a few weeks off and upon his return he would be a woman.
“I am a transsexual sports writer,” Penner wrote. “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.”
Penner’s statement shocked many but his employers were supportive.
As Penner himself noted, when he revealed his plans to Times Associate Editor Randy Harvey, who was then the newspaper’s sports editor, Harvey “leaned back in his chair, looked through his office window to scan the newsroom and mused, ‘Well, no one can ever say we don’t have diversity on this staff.’”
At the time of his death he was writing a column for the Times called Totally Random that focused on offbeat, lighthearted and historic moments in sports.
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