MILWAUKEE — A long-time Milwaukee journalist Eugene Kane, 63, known for his bringing to light issues facing the African American community, was found dead today. The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner is testing to see if he had COVID-19.
Kane's friends said Eugene played an important role in Milwaukee. He was known for his long-time Milwaukee Journal Sentinel column, Raisin' Kane. His friends say Kane wanted to give a voice to people who did not have one.
"He brought a lot of stories to light that people didn't like to talk about, like stories about race, stories about unemployment, and black unemployment. Stories about crime and how we look at crime in our community," said James Causey, friend and former coworker at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
"He would go out, find the stories other people would not have found, and kind of stir things up," said Joanne Williams, friend, and host of PBS' Black Nouveau.
Leaders like Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and County Executive Chris Abele say they found themselves at odds with Kane. But they respected what he was trying to accomplish.
"Gene held this community accountable. Gene called people out, and he called institutions out, and he called out what needed to be called out," said Abele.
"He was an incredibly passionate person about equity and justice in our society and specifically our city," said Barrett.
Kane was originally from Philadelphia but called Milwaukee home for decades. He earned numerous national honors for his writing and was recently inducted into the Milwaukee Press Club Media Hall of Fame.
Four years ago, Kane almost died while he was on the east coast visiting family. He had a diabetic seizure and ended up on life support. He used that experience as a platform to educate others about the dangers of diabetes, especially African American men, who are disproportionately affected by the disease. As Kane ended that column, he wrote how he planned to live the rest of his life.
"I vow to cherish each new day as a mark of success over that darkness, and to make sure the people in my life know how much I cherish them — and how much I want them to take care of themselves. And if you're reading this, that means you."
-Eugene Kane, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
April 28, 2016
The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner plans to release more information on Kane's death Friday.