This is the hardest post I have ever had to write.
It is with a heavy heart that I report that site contributor Andy Zimmerman, otherwise known here as @Purdue_AZ, took his own life on Sunday at his home in Arizona. I was informed of this earlier tonight by his sister. Here is his full obituary:
ANDY ZIMMERMAN, 35, of Buckeye, Ariz., and Fort Wayne, died Sunday, Aug. 2, 2015, at his home. He is survived by his father, Ken Zimmerman; mother, Denise (Robert) Hayes; sister, Betsy (Matt) Beers; stepbrothers, Matthew and Nick Hayes; nephew, Jackson Beers; nieces, Macy and Zoe Beers; as well as several aunts, uncles, cousins, and many loving friends. Service is 4 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 9, 2015, at Crossbridge Community Church, 3409 Hursh Road, Fort Wayne (IN 46845), with visitation starting at 2 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to RemedyLive, a crisis prevention organization.
I never met Andy in person. We had communicated solely through e-mail and text ever since he responded to my call for recruiting writers a few years ago. According to the stats, he had been a commenter for over three years, he had done 49 stories for us, and he even had moderator powers.
We have a regular group text among the writers, mostly to discuss story ideas and cover any breaking news. I feel like we have developed some good friendships, even though most of us are all over the country (with him in Arizona, me in Indiana, Jumboheroes in the DC area, and Juan in Michigan). His last text to the group was last Thursday and was pretty mundane. We simply had no idea.
On behalf of the entire staff here, I offer my sincerest condolences. Andy seemed like a great guy from our interactions over the years and there was even a talk of a meet up among all the writers if he came back for a game this fall. I cannot imagine what his family is going through, and I wish them my deepest sympathies.
Finally, if you're battling issues in your life, please, go get some help. There is absolutely no shame in it and the resources are always there. You are not alone. Talk to someone, anyone. If you're so moved, please contribute to RemedyLife.
Thank you, Andy. You are missed.
Here are some of Andy's top stories over the years:
UPDATE: After seeing this post, Andy's sister contacted me again to say the following:
My dad wanted me to tell you how much Andy LOVED writing about Purdue sports. Andy was always so proud of his articles and my parents were thrilled that he had found the perfect niche for himself.