Tributes poured in for Tom Kowalski, the famed Detroit Lions sportswriter, for Booth Newspapers and MLive.com, who died on Monday of an underlying heart condition shortly after filing his last story. He was 51.
He was found unresponsive at his home by his fiancee, Diane Wolan, and taken to DMC Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
An autopsy in Oakland County said the cause of death was acute congestive heart failure caused by hypertensive and arterioscleratic cardiovascular disease, reported Mlive.com. He had been hospitalized in early July with an abnormal heart rate and was taking medication for it.
His last story for the Mlive.com is here.
Kowalski had covered the Lions for 30 years, first for the Oakland Press and later for Booth Newspapers and eventually became a key contributor to Mlive.com. As a senior reporter, he made a seamless transition to the demands of online reporting, embracing its immediacy and interaction with readers, and understanding the deep passion of Lions fans, according to Mlive.com.
Kowalski was the writer who received the most traffic on Mlive.com, according to David Mayo, who also wrote for Mlive.com.
Tom made [his beat] disproportionately popular with his insight, wrote Mayo.
Ansar Khan of Mlive.com noted that Kowalski covered the Detroit Lions, a franchise that has often struggled during his career, through all the bad times, with an enthusiasm that never waned.
Below are some of the tributes for Kowalski from fellow sportswriters.
For all you people who knew Tom from the words he wrote as a sportswriter and the ones he spoke on radio and television, you missed the rare privilege of knowing an even rarer human being, wrote Mike O'Hara of Fox Sports Detroit.
He was as much an advocate for the fans who loved the Lions as any other beat man for any other team in the country... One of the good ones is gone, and our business, and Lions fans all over the country, will miss him, wrote Peter King of Sports Illustrated.
Kowalski didn't act one way on the air or in print, and then another way in his private life. What you saw was what you got with him. He was that inquisitive. He was that warm. He was that funny, wrote Ian Casselberry of SB Nation Detroit.