I awoke this morning to sad news: essayist and humorist David Rakoff passed away at age 47. I have been a fan of Rakoff's for a decade, ever since hearing his nasal, whispery voice on This American Life. Rakoff's humor was droll, wry, more Robert Benchley than David Sedaris, a friend and fellow This American Life featured essayist. His topics ranged from covering a soft core photo shoot for the Latin American Playboy channel to his emigration to the U.S. from Canada to hiking with a naturalist who eats wild berries and leaves in New York's park system. With every topic, there was always Rakoff, sitting back and observing the absurdities of the situation or just contemplating his own neuroses or loneliness. Openly gay, distinctly Jewish, and candid about his recurring cancer, Rakoff was a gentle man with nothing to hide. As my friend Sarah said this morning on Facebook, I'll miss his voice, both his creative voice and his soft-spoken reading voice.
Rest in peace, David.
Here is a lovely remembrance of Rakoff from This American Life creator Ira Glass.