Former Sacramento columnist and Kings beat writer Marty McNeal has passed away

Tragic news in the sports media world today, as a writer every Kings fan should know has passed away after battling a brutal disease. Here’s the Sacramento Bee reporting:

Marty McNeal has passed away? Those words just don’t seem plausible because anyone who knew the former Kings beat writer for The Sacramento Bee would agree that Martin McNeal was timeless.

He was a life force. He was pure New York swagger. He was not tall but had the intellect and bravado to cut NBA players down to size with his hilariously profane style of “conversating” that was so funny, you couldn’t get mad at him even when you were his target.

McNeal died Thursday in a hospital in Dallas, where he and his family had moved recently after nearly 30 years in Sacramento. His wife Beverly and his son Phillip were at his side. McNeal was 64 and had been battling leukemia.

Kings General Manager Vlade Divac issued the following statement on the passing of McNeal, the team’s beat writer for Bee from 1992 to 2005:

“I am deeply saddened to learn about the passing of my friend Marty Mac. I’ll never forget his incredible sense of humor and he will be forever remembered as a truly iconic figure in both the Sacramento and national media landscape.

“Marty possessed a unique storytelling ability unlike any other, as he tirelessly covered our team and this franchise during countless memorable moments, including some of the best years of my career. He had a magnetic personality, fiercely loved the game and was a legendary writer that inspired and entertained readers of all ages. He was also a beloved mentor and loyal friend to many, as well as a loving husband and father who will be greatly missed.

“On behalf of the entire Kings organization, I want to express our deepest condolences to his wife Beverly, son Phillip, and the entire McNeal family as we keep them all in our hearts, thoughts and prayers during this most difficult time.”

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