We’re extremely sad to report that Eugene Kane, the longtime Journal Sentinel columnist who spent time working at OnMilwaukee near the end of his career, has died.
According to TMJ4.com, the medical examiner says 63-year-old Eugene Kane died at his home in the 1000 block East Knapp. Officials say he was pronounced dead shortly before 1 p.m. Thursday, and family has been notified.
Cause of death results are pending.
We hired Eugene in 2013 after he took the buyout from the newspaper, and he made an immediate impact in our publication. I vividly remember the coffee that my business partner, Jeff, and I had with him at the Public Market. He was ready to embrace digital media, and he did.
Eugene was a former metro columnist for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. A veteran columnist and blogger, he has won several prestigious national journalism awards, including two first place National Headliner Awards for Best Local Column as well as first place for Best General Column from the Society of Professional Journalists. More recently, he wrote a weekly column for Urban Milwaukee, and was a recipient of the Milwaukee Press Club Media Hall of Fame.
Kane was a native of Philadelphia and a graduate of Temple University.
"We are grateful we had the opportunity to recognize Eugene’s excellence as a journalist, his passion for the Milwaukee community and his persistence in calling out racial injustice," said Gene Mueller, press club president and host of Wisconsin’s Morning News at WTMJ 620.
Meg Kissinger, former Journal Sentinel investigative reporter and a long-time colleague, recalled Kane’s authenticity and perseverance.
"I would just say Gene was a straight shooter. There was nothing phony about him," said Kissinger, now a visiting professor at Columbia University and fellow Hall of Fame honoree. "I used to shudder thinking about the invective he got from readers who dismissed him for the color of his skin. But Gene was never one to wallow in pity.
"He knew what he was up against and he took it."
Though we didn’t work together long, I respected Eugene immensely. He was a great writer and a funny, sarcastic presence in our newsroom. He brought in new readers, embraced social media and bought me a bottle of whiskey when he left.
And, for what it's worth, the pinned tweet on his Twitter profile is exactly what I would expect how he'd like to be remember: serious at times, biting when he needed to be. He never backed down from a challenge.
It's amazing to remember how anxious I was for the year 2020 to finally get here.
What the hell was I thinking? — Raising Kane (@eugene_kane) April 4, 2020
Eugene was a consummate, old-school professional journalist, and all of us at OnMilwaukee are deeply saddened to hear of his passing.
Andy is the president, publisher and founder of OnMilwaukee. He returned to Milwaukee in 1996 after living on the East Coast for nine years, where he wrote for The Dallas Morning News Washington Bureau and worked in the White House Office of Communications. He was also Associate Editor of The GW Hatchet, his college newspaper at The George Washington University.
Before launching OnMilwaukee.com in 1998 at age 23, he worked in public relations for two Milwaukee firms, most of the time daydreaming about starting his own publication.
Hobbies include running when he finds the time, fixing the rust on his '75 MGB, mowing the lawn at his cottage in the Northwoods, and making an annual pilgrimage to Phoenix for Brewers Spring Training.