Monday, November 26, 2007

Matt Price Dead at 46

Journalist. Born October 15, 1961, Perth. Died November 25, 2007, Perth

Matt Price, the very insightful and humorous political journalist has died after a short illness, leaving a wife and three kids.

In one corner of The Australian’s cramped bureau in Perth, a well-worn Akubra hangs over a shambolic desk half-hidden with crumpled bits of paper, well-thumbed books on politics and sport, scribbled notes, a small portrait of three adorable children sitting in a park and, just for good measure, a dirty old coffee mug.

Matt Price sat here. He shouted from here, laughed and hooted and banged his fist from here. He got outraged from here, so outraged that he’d rip off his telephone headset after being tipped into a story and come storming into your office, bellowing something about Howard or Rudd or Malthouse.

Matt made a lot of noise. But it was always interesting noise; an opinion (whether you wanted to hear it or not), a joke, a prediction, a secret, a plot. He was the quintessential Australian newspaperman, a prolific writer, a wonderful wordsmith and arguably the best all-round journalist to come out of the west to play such a prominent role in national affairs.

But much more importantly than that, Matt had a heart. He was a beautiful chronicler of the frailties of the human condition. He loved the underdog and the underdog loved him. His rusted-on passion for the Fremantle Dockers was testament to him loving the ugliest dog in the pound.

When doctors found tumours in his brain in early October, Matt wrote a message to his friends telling them that he was about to undergo exploratory brain surgery and about to enter “a long dark tunnel”.

The message was blunt and shocking, but optimistic. He signed off: “No pithy punchline, just the obvious observation - life is fragile, hug your loved ones.”

Matt died yesterday afternoon in his suburban Perth home attended by his beloved wife Sue and their three children, Jack, 16, Matilda, 14, and Harry, 11. It was less than eight weeks since his left arm went “awry” while writing a story on the demise of West Coast Eagles champion wingman Chris Mainwaring, the first warning sign of this mongrel disease that has taken so many at such a young age.

I used to subscribe to his blog and listen to him on political segments on radio and television. The election campaign missed his insight. He will be missed and it makes me very sad. A real gap in my daily reading.


greenwords said...

I feel the same way, Colin. It's so sad, he will be missed terribly.

fake consultant said...

i note your comment that many die at a young age from brain tumors, and i have to tell you that such a death at such an age would be very rare here in the us.

however, we also have "cluster" diseases that associate to region...for example, for reasons that are not yet understood, seattle has an unusually high rate of multiple sclerosis.

normally, when unrelated individuals have the same disease, and genetics are eliminated, the question moves to whether some environmental exposure might be involved.