One of Aard’s regulars, Jeff the Blue Collar Astronomer, died yesterday. He was diagnosed out of the blue with spontaneous (“cryptogenic”) liver cancer in early June. Jeff was 39. I learned the sad news from Wikipedia contributor Kwix this morning. Derek of Skepticality confirmed it on the JREF forum: “Jeff started to have some internal bleeding a couple days ago and was taken to the hospital. He died last night while sleeping.”
I met Jeff at The Amazing Meeting 5.5 in Fort Lauderdale in January. We became friends and I read his blog within hours of each posting. He was a programmer, an astronomer, a pro-bono science educator, a hard-nosed skeptic and an atheist. This random blow against a friendly and generous guy is a typical example of the non-plannedness of things.
I’m only three years younger than Jeff. His passing reminds me to live as if I had little time.
Update 8 August: Michael Shermer of Skeptic Magazine has accepted a joint book review of Jeff’s and mine for publication, on Bond & Hempsell’s A Sumerian Observation of the Köfels Impact Event. Jeff and I worked on the review immediately before he fell ill.