Mike Penner, 52, believed to be suicide

Sad news at the Los Angeles Times website about one of their own. Mike Penner, the veteran sportswriter who in 2007 and '08 was known publicly as Christine Daniels, was found dead at home. "Suicide was the suspected cause of death," the Times reports.

Penner wrote revealingly about his personal transformation into Daniels, drawing considerable attention and often support from around the sports world and beyond. "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," he wrote in his coming-out story in the paper.

He reported to work at the Times as Christine Daniels in April, 2007, but after several months disappeared from the pages. He returned to work in Oct. 2008 as Mike Penner, writing one of the Sports section's regular page 2 features.

"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 had been married to Times sports writer Lisa Dillman.

Christine Daniels at LA Observed

LGBT POV: Karen Ocamb re-runs her interview with Daniels. thread: "a great person, one of the best colleagues, period. this is just....brutal."

Jon Bois, SportsBlogs Nation: "I hope that those who do decide to play expert for a day and cast judgment can accept that their judgments are completely irrelevant."

Sam Farmer, LAT writer on Twitter: "I'm heartbroken by the loss of my friend and colleague Mike Penner. Mike was a phenomenal writer and an even better person."

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