Jeff Medkeff 1968-2008

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.


  1. #1 Dave Gill
    August 4, 2008

    I knew Jeff when he was a teenager in Ohio – and ran across him from time to time on the Web.

    A very smart and talented guy – died way too young.

  2. #2 ArchAsa
    August 5, 2008

    I hate cancer. It has been the cause of every death in my extended family during my own life span. Most have been fairly old, but my stepmother died far too young from breast cancer. It is so frustratingly horrible when people are struck down far too soon.

    My heartfelt condolences.

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