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Readers Mourn NY Times Writer, Minn. Native David Carr

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Twin Cities-area readers are mourning the loss of a native journalist and a media icon with the New York Times.

David Carr was found dead in the Times newsroom Thursday evening. He was 58.

Carr was born and raised in the Twin Cities, majoring in psychology and journalism at the University of Minnesota. He cut his reporter teeth while working at the alternative weekly newspaper, Twin Cities Reader, where he was editor.

In 2002 he began covering culture and media for the New York Times.

"I'm really just going to miss his artistry," MinnPost columnist David Brauer said.

Brauer met Carr met while they were waiting tables at a northeast Minneapolis restaurant. It was Carr's ability to capture his reader's attention in his writing style that most influenced Brauer.

"He taught me to take risks journalistically. He pushed me way beyond my boundaries, often uncomfortably so," Brauer said.

Carr would quickly become one of the Times' star columnists. He was prominently featured in the 2011 documentary, "Page One: Inside the New York Times."

He was a regular guest on the lecture scene, and he appeared Thursday -- just hours before he died -- on CBS This Morning to discuss two extremes in broadcast journalism, the fall of NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams and the tragic death of CBS News correspondent, Bob Simon.

Carr was also a staunch defender of journalism, but it was what he overcame in his personal life that was greatest story -- his fight with addiction.

"I saw him at his lowest point," Brauer said.

It was while Carr was recovering from a cocaine addiction that he got the news that he would now have to battle cancer. It was the intense radiation therapy that left Carr with a badly deformed and weakened neck.

Friend and MinnPost columnist Brian Lambert says Carr's personal struggles made him work all the harder, knowing that his time on earth was limited.

"He knew that there just wasn't a moment to lose with him," Lambert said. "Everything had a purpose and that included being good to his friends."

Perhaps Carr's obituary in the New York Times says it best, where he is described as "the finest media reporter of his generation - full of life and energy, funny, loyal and lovable."

"Some people pass away and it's always sad. But, I mean, David really leaves a vacuum," Lambert said.

Carr wrote the book, "Night of the Gun," in 2008, in which he investigates the darkest part of his life.

A day ago the book ranked number 56,000 on Amazon. But as people learned of his death it rocketed to number 26, and is now out of stock.

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