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Al Martinez, former Los Angeles Times columnist, dies at 85

An image shared with KPCC shows former Los Angeles Times columnist Al Martinez, who died Monday at 85.
An image shared with KPCC shows former Los Angeles Times columnist Al Martinez, who died Monday at 85.
Boris Yao / Los Angeles Times © 2000 used with permission

Al Martinez, the longtime columnist for the Los Angeles Times who chronicled everyday life in Southern California, has died.

His wife Joanne tells the Times Martinez died Monday at a Los Angeles hospital of congestive heart failure. He was 85 and suffered from pulmonary disease.

Over three decades, Martinez spun personal tales of family life and work while weaving in larger issues like politics, corruption and AIDS.

Bill Boyarsky, a former Times city editor and columnist, said Martinez was able to connect directly with people through storytelling.

After leaving the Times in 2009, he penned a column for the Los Angeles Daily News and later for the LA Observed website.

In addition to his wife, Martinez is survived by a daughter, Linda; a son, Allen; and six grandchildren.