Richard Durrett, an ESPNDallas.com reporter, died suddenly on June 17. Durrett, interviewed in the video above, joined ESPN Dallas in 2009 after spending nine years as a writer for The Dallas Morning News. He was 38.
Though officials have not released a cause of death, NBC Hardball Talk and multiple other news outlets are reporting that friends and associates indicated Durrett died of a brain aneurysm.
Here’s what you need to know about Durrett:
1. His Wife Was Pregnant With Their Third Child
According to Mac Engel, who wrote a eulogy for Durrett on the Fort-Worth Star Telegram’s Foul Territory blog, Durrett’s wife, Kelly, was pregnant with their third child. Engel recounts the announcement, which was made in a bar in Detroit:
So, there at the Anchor Bar, having previously told only family members, Anthony Andro and my bosses, I told Richard and T.R. that I had breaking news: Jenny is pregnant with our second.
Richard was thrilled, naturally, with that big smile emerging and a good laugh accompanying it as he reminded me that I hadn’t been entirely truthful some 24 hours ago.
But he had breaking news of his own. His wife, Kelly, was also pregnant with their third child.
What a day. What a memory. What a friend.
Durrett leaves behind a 6-year-old son, Owen, and a 3-year-old daughter, Alice. Although Durrett’s cause of death isn’t known, Engel’s eulogy said Durrett collapsed on Tuesday.
2. He Had Been in Texas Since College
This is how I remember Richard Durrett. Nice, funny, never took himself too seriously. Great guy. Will be missed. pic.twitter.com/U2wUIHnmrv
— Trey Fallon (@TreyFallon) June 18, 2014
Durrett, a graduate of Texas Christian University, wrote and worked for several Texas media outlets during his career, including the Grapevine Sun, Record-Chronicle and The Dallas Morning News. He co-hosted a daily sports talk show on then ESPN-owned radio station, KESN-FM, according to the Denton-Record Chronicle.
3. He Covered the Texas Rangers
According to The Dallas Morning News, Durrett helped run webcasts for the Texas Rangers. He even filled in as a radio host for the baseball team when Eric Nadel, the team’s regular broadcaster, had to leave for personal reasons, Durrett filled in as a host. Durrett also covered the team during his tenure at ESPN, as seen in the video above. The Texas Rangers have established a memorial fund to raise money for Durrett’s family and sent their condolences, tweeting:
Our thoughts are with Richard Durrett's family as we mourn the loss of a friend & colleague.
— Texas Rangers (@Rangers) June 18, 2014
4. His Friends Called Him ‘too Nice’ for Journalism
RIP, my friend, Richard Durrett. pic.twitter.com/qkTFArXpxJ
— Pedro Gomez (@pedrogomezESPN) June 18, 2014
Several of Durrett’s friends and colleagues have written eulogies for their friend, including ESPNDallas’ Tim McMahon. He wrote for the Texas Ranger Report:
The only criticism I ever heard or had of my good friend and ESPNDallas.com colleague Richard Durrett was that he was just too darn nice for this business.
I have never met a more wholesome, clean-living man than Durrett, which makes his sudden death Tuesday at the age of 38 even more tragic. He did not have a shred of cynicism in him, which is about as rare and surprising in the sports media world as Bengie Molina hitting for the cycle was in baseball, a sport Durrett loved and covered with impeccable integrity, professionalism and skill in print, on radio and on television.
Durrett’s friends remarked about how he sent personalized Happy Father’s Day texts out just last Sunday, which made his death even more tragic.
5. There Has Been An Outpouring of Support on Social Media for Durret’s Family
Durrett’s colleagues, organizations and readers have taken to Twitter to express sadness over his passing and to send their condolences to his family. Here are some of the tweets you need to see:
We lost a real pro, a great reporter, and a good man with the passing of Richard Durrett. Remember his family in your prayers.
— Bob Ley (@BobLeyESPN) June 18, 2014
Richard Durrett was one of the rare ones in this business. Liked and respected by everyone he met. He will truly be missed.
— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) June 18, 2014
I can't add to tributes to Richard Durrett; can only try to live more like him. Kind, caring, enthusiastic, lacking ego or pettiness.
— Evan Grant (@Evan_P_Grant) June 18, 2014
Prayers goes out to Richard Durrett and his family. The DFW area has lost a great sports columnist. I loved reading his columns.
— Mark W. Pritchard (@MrMarkPritchard) June 18, 2014