Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Alex Tizon has died, according to the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication (UOSOJC), where he was an assistant professor. He was 57.
“Alex was an artist and a quiet force, my mentor and friend,” UOSOJC journalism instructor Lisa Heyamoto said in a statement. “His passing is a loss for us all.”
Tizon, whose cause of death is believed to have been natural causes, was one of three journalists to win the 1997 Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting for a series on corruption and inequalities in a federal housing program for Native Americans. Their investigation led to program reforms.
“Alex was gracious and kind, hanging with the rest of us at chapter events,” Lori Matsukawa, anchor of Seattle’s KING5 and founding member of the city’s chapter of the Asian-American Journalists Association (AAJA), said in a statement. “But as a reporter, he was like a dog with a bone. He wouldn’t let go until he got the story he was after. He also took pride in carrying on the legacy of Filipino American journalists and activists in the Pacific Northwest. We all learned what was important to the Filipino American community through Alex.”
In 2014, Tizon published, “Big Little Man: In Search of My Asian Self,” a memoir about race, masculinity, shame, and the challenges of growing up as an Asian-American man in the United States. Tizon’s book won the 2015 Oregon Book Awards Frances Fuller Victor Award in Non-Fiction Literary Arts, an Asian Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA) Literature Awards Honor Title, and the 2011 J. Anthony Lukas Work-In-Progress Award from Harvard and Columbia Universities.
Tizon previously wrote for The Seattle Times, was Seattle bureau chief for the Los Angeles Times, and he also contributed to other publications including Newsweek and 60 Minutes, according to AAJA, as well as The Atlantic.
“Alex was a rare guy who sparkled with wit and spirit and truly loved the work of journalism,” UOSOJC professor Deborah Morrison said in a statement. “We will miss him, and his spirit and love of story will always be honored here.”