RIP, David Rakoff: November 27, 1964 – August 9, 2012


David Rakoff had a strange sense of humor, on par with David Sedaris, but drier, sadder, smarter.

Or maybe that’s just how I imagine it. I first encountered him on the radio show This American Life, where his curious voice and beyond-deadpan delivery alone were enough to keep me smiling, even before he’d made his point or reached the punchline. It’s hard to separate that voice from his voice as a writer: I can’t read the latter without hearing the former.

Rakoff’s health problems began early. In his 20s, he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Disease, which he frequently wrote about in a moving and, yes, funny way. A couple of years ago, he was diagnosed with cancer again. This go-round, he was not so fortunate.

He died yesterday at the age of 47.

If you have time, take a moment or two or seven out of your day to remember this superlatively gifted author, who discussed being sick, Jewish, gay, and Canadian with an uncommon sense of humor. You can listen to many of his recordings on his author page at the This American Life website.

Goodbye, David. You’ll be deeply missed.

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