New York Times political columnist Blake Hounshell died after a “battle with depression,” the paper revealed Tuesday.

He was 44.

New York Times editor-in-chief Joe Kahn and managing editor Carolyn Ryan informed staff via email that Hounshell, who joined the newspaper in 2021, “tragically passed away” from an apparent suicide.

“Blake was a dedicated journalist who quickly distinguished himself as our lead politics newsletter writer. He became an indispensible and always insightful voice in the report during a busy election cycle,” the editors wrote. “We’ve lost a valuable colleague and this is a heartbreaking loss to our team.”

The Times shared a statement from Hounshell’s family, which read: “It was with great sorrow that we have to inform you that Blake has suddenly died this morning after a long and courageous battle with depression. His wife, Sandy, and two children are in our thoughts and prayers, and ask for respect and privacy at this time.”

A rep for The Times did not comment further.

a screenshot of Kahn's memo
An email was sent to the Times’ newsroom over the columnist’s death.
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blake hounshell
New York Times columnist Blake Hounshell died after battling depression.
Twitter / @blakehounshell

A prolific writer, Hounshell’s most recent column, “Death Penalty in California is a Puzzle for Newsom,” appeared on The Times’ website Monday.

The columnist penned the paper’s “On Politics” newsletter, covering topics like the Republican Party’s struggle to win Gen Z voters, the fallout from the collapse of Sam Bankman-Fried’s FTX exchange and the struggle to elect Kevin McCarthy as Speaker of the House.

Hounshell joined The Times from Politico, where he served as managing editor for Washington and politics. He spent eight years there, overseeing coverage of Congress, the White House, the judiciary, national security and defense, among other things. Prior to Politico, Hounshell was the managing editor of Foreign Policy magazine.

New York Times office exterior
Editors Kahn and Ryan emailed Times staffers about Hounshell’s death on Tuesday.
UCG/Universal Images Group via G

A native of Pittsburgh, Hounshell was a self-proclaimed “politics junkie,” The Times wrote in a statement when they hired him.

Hounshell, who graduated from Yale University in 2002, got his start in journalism after a stint in Cairo, Egypt, studying Arabic, The Times said. He was a finalist for a Livingston Award in 2011 for his reporting on the Arab uprisings that year.

If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts or are experiencing a mental health crisis and live in New York City, you can call 1-888-NYC-WELL for free and confidential crisis counseling. If you live outside the five boroughs, you can dial the 24/7 National Suicide Prevention hotline at 988 or go to SuicidePreventionLifeline.org.


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Tyler Cowan