On Saturday, photographer-writer and music-journalism fixture Andrew Youssef died after a long, heartbreakingly documented struggle with colon cancer. He was 38.
Since 2006, he had written and shot for his own blog, Amateur Chemist, and publications including Stereogum and the OC Weekly several times a week. One could hardly go to a photo pit at a marquee concert in Southern California without running into him. He was one of the area's most tireless and enthusiastic music fans, and even after his diagnosis, he continued shooting and covering bands until October (his final concert shoot was for Depeche Mode in Los Angeles).
He chronicled his life in an OC Weekly blog, Last Shot, where music reviews wove into his larger existential thoughts on his condition in his waning days. On Sept. 26, he wrote that he would be halting intensive treatment and begin preparing for the end of his life -- but he didn't stop writing or shooting.
Many of his favorite musicians returned the affection, giving him exclusive backstage glimpses and acknowledgment onstage. Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, one of Youssef's favorite bands, turned a recent Las Vegas show into an uplifting, heartwrenching tribute, dedicating NIN's song "In This Twilight" to him.
We didn't know him personally, but the L.A. music-journalism sphere is full of beautiful and heartfelt memorials today. The memorial at the Weekly, which recently put him on its cover, is particularly moving; KCRW and Buzzbands.la have remembrances as well.
Youssef was an essential documentarian of life onstage in L.A. If you're a music fan, take today to go see and read what he spent his all-too-short life remembering.