Columnist David Carr Died of Lung Cancer

New York Times reports autopsy results in the death of its beloved media columnist

Last Updated: February 16, 2015 @ 10:16 AM

New York Times media columnist David Carr died this week of lung cancer, the paper reported Saturday.

Carr died of complications of metastatic small cell neuroendocrine carcinoma of the lung complicated by heart disease, the paper reported of the New York City chief medical examiner’s autopsy finding. Carr was 58.

The media columnist was a survivor of Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system, and also overcame a long addiction to crack cocaine. Both experiences were chronicled in his 2008 memoir, “The Night of the Gun.

The columnist collapsed in the newspaper’s offices on Thursday and then was rushed to St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital where he died, TheWrap previously reported.

The outpouring of adoration for Carr among the journalism community has been overwhelming. The paper he was known to passionately champion, The New York Times, came together Friday afternoon to celebrate and mourn their colleague.

The paper’s executive editor called Carr “the finest media reporter of our generation.” CNN’s Brian Stelter, who started at The New York Times at the spry young age of 22, mourned the man who mentored him.

“I thought someone like David Carr was a god. I also thought he would ignore me at best and crush me at worst. Well, in fact, he took me under his wing as he took so many young journalists under his wing and mentored us and instilled us a deep appreciation for all of the things we’ve been talking about in the past week: credibility and trust and voice in journalism.”

His Times’ colleague, A.O. Scott wrote about Carr, “A Journalist at the Center of the Sweet Spot.”

Until his death on Thursday, he covered every corner of the media business (including, sometimes, his own employer) with analytical acumen, ethical rigor and gumshoe tenacity.

He managed to see the complexities of digital-age journalism from every angle, and to write about it with unparalleled clarity and wit. His prose was a marvel of wry Midwestern plainness, sprinkled with phrases his colleagues will only ever think of as Carrisms. Something essential was “baked in.” Someone was always competing to be the tallest leprechaun.

The Times’ reports Carr’s wake will be held Monday evening with his funeral Tuesday.

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