The liberal pundit Alan Colmes – known for his collegial approach to politics – has died after a brief illness, according to Fox News and several of Colmes’ news media colleagues.
Colmes was only 66-years-old.
Colmes is best known for being the liberal half of the former warring pundit team, “Hannity & Colmes.” On the air, in a segment announcing Colmes’ death, Sean Hannity described Colmes as “one of the nicest, kindest, and most generous people.” It was one of many tributes that flowed in from Colmes’ news media colleagues, who widely regarded him as humble and kind in a world in which political debate has increasingly coarsened. The Associated Press dubbed Colmes the “amiable liberal foil” to Hannity’s conservatism.
Colmes leaves behind his professor wife of 13 years, Jocelyn Elise Crowley, who is the sister of GOP foreign policy adviser Monica Crowley.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Fox News Said Colmes Died From a ‘Brief Illness’ & He Recently Announced That He Was Sick
The news that Colmes had died came in around 9 a.m. EST on the morning of February 23. Fox News ran a tribute to Colmes on the air. You can watch it above.
Colmes had earlier revealed he was taking time off his radio show because of unspecified medical issues.
“As I previously mentioned on the show last year, there would be times I would be taking off from the show to deal with a medical issue. This is why I’ve been out recently and will be out this week as well. But I will be back taking your calls as soon as I can,” he wrote, according to Fox radio.
Sean Hannity released this statement, given to Heavy by Fox News: “The Fox family, Dr. Jocelyn Colmes, Monica Crowley and me personally have lost one of life’s most decent, kind and wonderful people you’d ever want to meet. When Alan and I started Hannity and Colmes, there wasn’t a day that went by where we didn’t’ say we were two most fortunate men in all television. Despite major political differences, we forged a deep friendship. Alan, in the midst of great sickness and illness, showed the single greatest amount of courage I’ve ever seen. And through it all, he showed his incredible wit and humor that was Alan’s signature throughout his entire life. I’m truly heartbroken at the loss of a dear friend. Our thoughts and prayers are with Jocelyn, Monica and his entire family. He will be dearly missed.”
2. The Cause of Death Was Lymphoma
How did Colmes die? The cause of death was not immediately known as word started to break of Colmes’ death on the morning of February 23. However, later in the day, The Washington Post reported that Colmes died of lymphoma at a Manhattan hospital.
According to People Magazine, Colmes tried to shield his wife, Jocelyn, from his illness. “[When] we first talked about it, you know, typical Alan style, his first statement to me was, ‘I don’t want my wife to worry or be upset,’” Sean Hannity told the magazine. “He was thinking about her. He loved his wife, he adored her.”
Colmes was the host of the Alan Colmes radio show. His program with Hannity ended in 2009. Hannity told Fox, “Alan, in the midst of great sickness and illness, showed the single greatest amount of courage I’ve ever seen.”
Fox News released this statement from Colmes’ family, “Alan Colmes passed away this morning after a brief illness. He was 66 years old. He leaves his adoring and devoted wife, Jocelyn Elise Crowley. He was a great guy, brilliant, hysterical, and moral. He was fiercely loyal, and the only thing he loved more than his work was his life with Jocelyn. He will be missed. The family has asked for privacy during this very difficult time.”
Colmes was also an author. He wrote the 2003 book, “Red, White & Liberal: How Left Is Right and Right Is Wrong” and “Thank the Liberals for Saving America” in 2012. He was a contributor on Fox News, a network he had appeared on since 1996.
It was clear that Colmes’ death was not entirely unexpected as Fox had a pre-planned tribute prepared to run for him.
Monica Crowley wrote on Facebook about her devastation over Colmes’ death.
“I am heartbroken at the loss of my sweet brother-in-law Alan Colmes. He passed away this morning after a brief illness, which he fought with extraordinary courage, strength and grace,” she wrote on February 23.
“Alan was a true gentleman in every sense of the word. He took his beliefs and work seriously and at the same time lived his life full of joy, laughter and commitment. He loved what he did for a living, and he loved those around him—without condition. During the most heated political debates, his infectious sense of humor would come through, and before you knew it, even his staunchest political opponents were smiling. He was incredibly kind, generous and warm—and completely devoted to my sister and our family. He was a gentle soul and a good man. He was my friend. And I will miss him every day. Rest in peace, dear Alan.”
3. Colmes’ Site Was Still Tweeting After His Death Was Announced
Ever the pundit, Colmes’ Twitter account tweeted even after Fox News confirmed that he had died. Presumably, the tweets were scheduled in advance.
This was Colmes’ last tweet (it’s now been deleted, but you can read what it said below):
And the one before it, about 19 minutes before word of his death was revealed:
He had also tweeted just 12 hours before about a Sen. Tom Cotton town hall.
Despite his illness, he certainly had not lost steam as a commentator, at least on Twitter. In the last few days, Colmes had been tweeting up a storm about politics, weighing in on everything from Donald Trump’s policies to Betsy DeVos and transgender students.
4. Colmes Was a New York Native Who Got His Start as a Stand up Comedian
Colmes was born in New York, and got his first taste of showmanship as a stand up comedian, according to the Fox News special report on his death.
Born Sept. 24, 1950, he later “developed his career as a radio host in the Northeast,” according to AJC.com.
Prominent journalists lauded Colmes’ positive nature – even those who did not agree with his liberal politics.
Although Brit Hume said he did not agree with Colmes on much, he wrote that he liked him “immensely.”
That’s part of Colmes’ central legacy: In an era in which the country is bitterly divided, Colmes retained friendships even with those he debated.
5. Colmes Leaves Behind a Wife, Jocelyn Crowley, Who Also Works on Public Policy Issues
Fox News reported that the the family confirmed Colmes had died and was asking for privacy. One thing Colmes shared with his wife, Jocelyn: A love of serious public policy issues. Jocelyn Elise Crowley is a professor at Rutgers University with a PhD from MIT.
Her Rutgers bio describes Jocelyn as a Professor at the Bloustein School, a member of the Graduate Faculty, Department of Political Science, Affiliated Faculty, Department of Women’s and Gender Studies, and Senior Faculty Fellow, John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development.
Jocelyn Crowley is an author, who has written books on fathers rights’ advocates and, more recently, is studying “couples who divorce after the age of 50” for a book that will be called, “Gray Divorce: What We Lose and Gain from Mid-Life Splits.” She also wrote a book on mothers and workplace flexibility issues. The couple did not have children.
In 2011, the couple bought a Fifth Avenue apartment worth more than $1 million. Alan Colmes’ net worth is usually put at about $12 million.
Her sister, Monica Crowley, resigned from the Trump administration after plagiarism accusations surfaced.
In a statement, Colmes’ family said, “He was a great guy, brilliant, hysterical, and moral. He was fiercely loyal, and the only thing he loved more than his work was his life with Jocelyn.”
This post will be updated as more is known about Colmes’ death.
Read more about Alan Colmes in Spanish at AhoraMismo.com: