Free Press sports columnist Drew Sharp dies at 56

Holly Fournier
The Detroit News

Longtime Free Press sports columnist Drew Sharp has died, according to the paper’s president.

“Drew was a lifelong member of the Detroit Free Press family, joining us in 1983,” said Brian Priester, president of the Detroit Free Press and “And during that time, Drew became a powerful voice and opinion on our beloved sports teams here in Detroit and across America. We will miss him greatly.”

Sharp died Friday morning at his home in Bloomfield Hills, according to the Free Press. He was 56.

He died of hypertensive cardiovascular disease, meaning a heart attack with high blood pressure, according to the Oakland County medical examiner. It was ruled a natural death.

Sharp grew up “in the shadow of the University of Detroit campus” and graduated from the University of Michigan, the writer said in his online author biography posted on the Free Press website. He worked there his entire career, rising to the rank of full-time columnist in 1999, according to the paper.

“Terrible, heartbreaking news,” Free Press sports writer Mark Snyder said in a pair of tweets Friday morning. “Drew was one of the nicest, kindest people I have ever met in this business.”

Sharp embraced his role as a sports voice in a sports-crazy town, according to the online biography.

“Detroit’s home to many championship teams and devoted fans who emotionally rise and fall with the fortunes of their favorite teams,” Sharp wrote. “But they’re also very knowledgeable and hard-scrabbled enough to appreciate the necessity for factual reporting and honest commentary that goes against convention when warranted.”

The columnist also reflected on overcoming childhood adversity before landing his prominent role.

“Never participated in one minute of organized sports due to two open heart surgeries before the age of eight, but nonetheless became an accomplished sports columnist. Barely spoke as a child because of a debilitating stutter, but became a regular fixture on television and radio,” he wrote. “My story is no different than many others: Either you define yourself, or others will define you.”

Sharp lived with his wife, Karen, and their cocker spaniel, Seamus, according to the Free Press.

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