A journalist for the Washington Post was found dead in his apartment on Thursday.
43-year-old Darran Simon was confirmed dead by the Washington, D.C. newspaper. Tracy Grant, a managing editor at the Post, announced his passing in a memo. There is no official cause of death at this time.
WaPo reporter dead
Simon reported on D.C. government and politics at the newspaper, widely considered among the nation’s most powerful. He was remembered by the paper’s editors as a diligent journalist whose “deeply humane” reporting had him covering coronavirus stories before he died, according to Grant, The Washingtonian reported.
“We are deeply saddened to report that yesterday, Darran Simon was found dead in his apartment,” the memo read. “Darran joined us as a DC government and politics reporter last month from CNN. He made an immediate impact on his arrival. Darran proved himself to be dogged, as when asking Mayor Bowser questions at her daily press briefings, and deeply humane, as when he told the story of a former ‘Jeopardy’ contestant who died of COVID-19,” Grant wrote.
Simon had recently joined the Post, the memo notes. He previously worked at CNN and a slate of well-known newspapers, including Long Island’s Newsday, Miami Herald, New Orleans’ Times-Picayune, and the Philadelphia Inquirer.
The Post Guild, a union for the newspaper’s workers, also sent out a memo about Simon’s death encouraging colleagues to seek help if needed. Co-workers at the Post and previous jobs including his partner on the D.C. beat, Fenit Nirappil, paid tribute to the late reporter.
“Heartbroken by the sudden death of my colleague Darran Simon. We are devastated to lose such a kind co-worker and the city lost a wonderful storyteller,” he tweeted.
Colleagues pay tribute
According to an obituary from the Post, Simon was born in England and raised in the nation of Guyana and later, New Jersey. He went on to become a respected reporter who was known for being quiet, diligent, and sensitive. In particular, the journalist had a “restless curiosity as well as deep compassion for” people who had suffered traumatic experiences, the paper said.
He covered the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina for the Times-Picayune, and he wrote about victims of violence in cities around the country. When he joined the Post, he was trusted by the paper to write top stories about the coronavirus.
“Darran had an immediate impact at The Post with his talent, grace and earnest devotion to his work,” said Mike Semel, the paper’s chief metro editor. “He was here barely a week when the city he was covering shut down because of coronavirus. But he forged ahead and found great stories to tell. Despite his short tenure, we entrusted him to write the main coronavirus news story several times over the past couple of weeks — taking feeds from his colleagues and weaving those into a coherent story. He worked so well with everyone and was a graceful, fluid writer. Beyond that, he was just a nice guy with an electric smile.”
D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) said that Simon “quickly found his place in our community and in our hearts. We will miss his presence, his journalism, and his commitment to telling the stories that need and deserve to be told.”
The medical examiner told the Post that the cause of death is pending.