LOS ANGELES – A Los Angeles Times sportswriter, who announced two years ago he was a transsexual and was changing his gender to female, was found dead in a suspected suicide, the paper reported Saturday.
Mike Penner, 52, who shocked colleagues and readers after he announced he was becoming a woman in April 2007, then returned to work as a man, was found dead at his Los Angeles home, according to the paper.
Penner had worked for 25 years on the sports staff of the Times.
"He was one of the most talented writers I've ever worked with," wrote Times Sports Editor Mike James on a blog on the Times Web site. "He was a gentle man, a kind man. It's just a tragedy," James wrote.
Penner revealed his transsexuality in a column in the paper, telling readers that he would continue to cover sports news under the name of Christine Daniels.
"How do you go about sharing your most important truth, one you spent a lifetime trying to keep deeply buried, to a world that has grown familiar and comfortable with your facade?" Penner wrote in his column.
"I am a transsexual sportswriter," he 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. I realize many readers and colleagues and friends will be shocked to read them."
Penner covered the NFL, tennis, the Olympics and the Los Angeles Angels in his tenure at the paper.