Bryan Burwell's voice in sports world will be missed

Known for his passionate writing style, insight into sports and athletes and his friendly, caring nature, sports columnist Bryan Burwell, who wrote for USA TODAY in the 1990s, died on Thursday. He was 59.

Burwell was diagnosed with cancer in October and wanted to keep his illness private, according to stories in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, where he had worked since 2002. Longtime friends and former colleagues were saddened and shocked by the news.

Now that Bryan is gone, the press box will never be as warm again. It will be a much quieter place," Miklasz wrote. "I'm headed to Atlanta for the SEC Championship, and I'd give anything to sit next to him one more time. During Saturday's game I'll probably close my eyes, and hope to hear that famous, wondrous Burwell laughter. This is impossible, and this is cruel, and this is crushing. But I do know this: The familiar echo of that sweet, soul-replenishing laughter will always live in our hearts. He'll never really leave us.

Burwell loved writing about football and basketball, a constant figure at NBA and NFL playoff games and golf, track and field (he attended Virginia State on a track scholarship) and boxing, too. Burwell was often at his best when writing about basketball.

He carefully selected his words and crafted his sentences and wasn't afraid to tackle complex topics, such as race, religion, or powerful people.

In 1996, he wrote about NBA player Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf who was suspended for refusing to stand during The Star-Spangled Banner. Burwell talked to Basketball Hall of Famer Bill Walton for the story.
Burwell is survived by his wife, Dawn, and daughter, Victoria.

 

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