I'm not usually more than mildly affected when I hear of the death of a celebrity, artist etc (someone I only know from various media, as opposed to an actual physical or interactive relationship).
This is the rare exception. I have been saddened the past two days after reading of the death of comic book artist, Mike Wieringo. I must say, I wasn't a particularly big fan of Mike's art, though I enjoyed it. I didn't even know that much about his personal life, other than he was regarded as an amiable guy. But when I read the headline that he had died at the age of 44 on Sunday, I was immediately taken aback with a feeling of sadness.
Mike was, by all accounts, a very healthy man. He was a vegetarian, exercised regularly, owned pets, didn't smoke. Did all the right things. Yet he died from a massive heart attack.
Besides the fact that Mike was one of the most humble, forthcoming and talented artists in the comic book business, it was deeply unsettling for me to think that this healthy 44 year old man was robbed of his life so quickly and without warning.
Just now, when my wife and I have bought a new house, want to start a family, and are just generally the most contented we've ever been, the thought has been put into my head- "What if these are the last days of my life and I don't know it?" If Mike had known his fate, how would he have spent the last week or so? Or would he prefer not to have known?
I realize I'm thinking somewhat fatalistically, but I admit, I think of it often. I don't dwell on it, but when something like this happens to someone like Mike, it makes me think harder on it.
Mike, you will be missed.
Edit: I had colored this Ringo-pencilled Spider-Man piece in remembrance of him a few days after his passing (click for larger view):
Now playing: Ralph Stanley & Alison Krause - Heaven's Bright Shore