Comic essayist David Rakoff, featured speaker at the 2007 Sigma Tau Delta International Convention and honorary Sigma Tau Delta member, lost his battle with cancer Thursday night in Manhattan. The Thurber Prize-winning author is best known for his regular contributions to This American Life and his essays in The New York Times Magazine. Former Sigma Tau Delta President Kevin Stemmler sent the following announcement yesterday:
The sad news this morning is that David Rakoff passed away last evening. His agent, Steven Barclay, informed me of his condition just a couple of weeks ago. He wanted me to know because David had such an amazing experience working with Sigma Tau Delta at the first Pittsburgh convention. Many of you will remember how down-to-earth, warm, sincere, and funny David was, but you may not know that he was genuinely moved by the reception he had from students and faculty in Sigma Tau Delta. When we made him an honorary Deltan the following year, he sent me a very sweet email to let me know how much it meant to him to be recognized by this particular group. This is one of the amazing services we can provide to our speakers–to give them the welcome that writers do not typically receive in other venues. I’m happy to know that we made a difference in his professional life and so, with a heavy heart, I ask that you remember him kindly in turn. Ask your friends to honor him by reading his books and celebrating the observations of his life.