Veteran LA Times transsexual sportswriter found dead

Obit PennerMike Penner, the veteran Los Angeles Times sportswriter who made international headlines in 2007 when he announced he was transsexual and began working under the byline “Christine Daniels,” has died.

Colleagues said Saturday that Penner was found dead at his Los Angeles home and that suicide was the suspected cause of death. He was 52.

“He was one of the most talented writers I’ve ever worked with,” said Times Sports Editor Mike James, adding that Penner covered numerous beats including the National Football League and sports media during his more than two-decade-long career at the paper.

In 2007, Penner made headlines by announcing in a column that he planned to live life as a woman named Christine Daniels.

“I am a transsexual sportswriter. It has taken more than 40 years, a million tears and hundreds of hours of soul-wrenching therapy for me to work up the courage to type those words.”

Penner blogged about his transitioning experience for several months, then took a leave of absence.

Last year, he returned to the newsroom as a man and began using his old byline.

Penner, who was taking female hormones but never had sex change surgery, didn’t publicly explain his decision.

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