Portrait by Tom Bachtell.
I can hardly bring myself to write this, because I do not yet accept it, but my dear friend Andrew Patner, one of the wisest, wittiest, most generous, most avid, most altogether vital people in the world of the arts, died this morning in Chicago, at the age of fifty-five. It was a constant joy to have Andrew in my life, and it was an endless, enriching education. He offered advice, he offered criticism, he offered time, he offered knowledge (staggeringly encyclopedic knowledge, on every imaginable subject), and, above all, he offered companionship. I did not see him often in person, but we exchanged, on average, three or four e-mail messages a day, sometimes many more, adding up to thousands upon thousands over the past decade. I feel lost and lonely without him, as do many others around the world. I'm too heartbroken to say much more, but obituaries in the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Tribune and tributes from WFMT, the Chicago Symphony, Marc Geelhoed, and Amanda Ameer give some idea of the greatness of Andrew's mind and spirit. Deepest condolences to Tom Bachtell, his longtime partner; to his mother, Irene; to his brothers, Seth and Joshua; and to innumerable friends.