Chris Dufresne, who worked in the Los Angeles Times sports department for over 30 years, passed away on Monday. Christopher Gabriel first reported the news. Dufresne was 62 years old.
No cause of death has been released, but the last story he wrote, which captured his ability to mix in humor with information and educated opinion, was questioning whether he would ever attend another live sporting event. According to the story, he had a relapse of childhood asthma last year. He wrote about the dangers people like him faced in this pandemic and how he felt like they were being used as sacrificial lambs. He never did get to see another live sporting event.
According to his bio on the LA Times, Dufresne started as a truck loader at the Times in 1976. He worked his way up from prep writer to college football and basketball columnist, a post he held from 1995-2015. He was named the 2011 California Sportswriter of the Year by the National National Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association.
The media reaction was universal in its praise of Dufresne as a writer and devastation at his passing.
His farewell column was personal, insightful and emotional. He talked about the importance of newspapers in his life, how his father delivered for the LA Times and how his first big assignment was getting the sports editor a sandwich. He ended it by discussing a rejection letter he got from the LA Times in 1980. They made amends for that mistake and we're better for it. RIP to Chris Dufresne.