Andre Coe, a former editorial assistant in the Dallas bureau of The Associated Press and the cooperative's regional news desk in Phoenix, died Friday. He was 36.
During his career at the AP, Coe reported from the Texas Gulf Coast in the wake of Hurricane Ike in 2008, and was one of the first reporters to arrive at the scene of a bus crash that killed 17 passengers in Sherman earlier that year. He wrote about the 45th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and the return of US Airways Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, who successfully landed a passenger jet in the Hudson River in 2009, to his hometown of Denison.
"Andre would appear in our cramped newsroom after a long day out in the wet heat of a summer disturbed by Ike, drop a backpack heavy with gear, and inquire about our story," said David Scott, the AP's Central Regional editor. "Invariably, it was a story for which he'd again earned the byline, having dictated throughout the day the details and interviews that made it work."
Coe had just started working as an editorial assistant at the AP's West Regional desk in 2010 when he was diagnosed with brain and lung cancer.
"Andre was an inspiration to everyone he met," said Dale Leach, AP's Chief of Bureau for Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana. "Even when his body was failing, his spirit remained hopeful and uplifting. We will miss his presence, but always remember his spirit."
Coe was born in Fort Worth and grew up in Abilene. He graduated from the University of Texas with a degree in sociology in 2000 and returned to the school to earn a second degree in journalism in 2003.
Before coming to the AP, Coe was a reporter at the Montgomery (Ala.) Advertiser and the Dallas Examiner. He also had interned at the Austin American-Statesman and the Abilene Reporter-News.
"He said his biggest accomplishment was being a journalist, working where he could tell other people's stories," said Kim Bogney, one of Coe's three siblings.
He was a member of the Phi Beta Sigma fraternity, where his nickname was Aries, for his warrior spirit, she said. Coe was an ROTC cadet and also a huge sports fan.
While battling his illness, Coe would often visit his colleagues and joke about the weight and hair he lost during his treatment for cancer. He was a constant upbeat presence on Facebook.
"He remained happy, joyful and positive even while being fully cognizant of what he was facing and he truly inspired everyone who knew him during that period because he fought that battle joyfully," said Matt Curry, a reporter in the AP's Dallas bureau, who became good friends with Coe as they worked together at night.
While Coe was ill, he wrote a book of humorous stories about his life titled "The Life and Times of a Curly Headed Kid from West Texas."
"Andre was very carefree," Bogney said. "He lived his life. He didn't leave anything on the table."
Coe is survived by his mother, Irene Coe of Abilene; two sisters, Vickie Hall of Plano and Kim Bogney of Allen; and a brother, Anthony Coe of Round Rock. Funeral services are pending.