Carl Hiaasen, the Miami Herald columnist and award-winning novelist, mourned the death of his brother Rob Hiaasen, who was among journalists killed at the Capital Gazette newsroom on Thursday.
"I am devastated and heartsick to confirm the loss of my wonderful brother Rob today in the mass shooting in the newsroom at the Annapolis Capital Gazette," Hiaasen wrote on Facebook, alongside a photo of the brothers. "Rob was an editor and columnist at the paper, and one of the most gentle and funny people I've ever known. He spent his whole gifted career as a journalist, and he believed profoundly in the craft and mission of serving the public's right to know the news."
Hiaasen said his brother's nickname was "Big Rob," "because he was so tall, but it was his remarkable heart and humor that made him larger than all of us."
"Please keep our family in your thoughts and prayers tonight," the Hoot author continued. "Hug your loved ones like there's no tomorrow."
According to the Baltimore Sun, the 59-year-old Rob Hiaasen was killed a week after he celebrated his 33rd wedding anniversary with his wife, former journalist and teacher Maria Hiaasen, who turned 58 on Thursday.
Rob is survived by their three children, Ben, 29; Samantha, 27; and Hannah, 26.
"He was a tall man, 6-foot-5, but he was a giant not just in stature but in character. He was just the best husband," Maria told the Sun. "He loves words, he loves humor. He loved journalism, he loved helping those young writers at the Gazette."
Rob, who graduated from the University of Florida and was born in Fort Lauderdale, was remembered for his eclectic subjects for his columns, from his favorite songs about rain to the death of a homeless man. He joined the Capital Gazette in 2010 and received an award from the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Press Association for a column on realizing as a grown up that the Fort Lauderdale beach he spent time at as a child was segregated.
The four other victims of the shooting are editorial page editor Gerald Fischman; editor/reporter John McNamara; sales assistant Rebecca Smith; and community news reporter Wendi Winters.
The suspect in the shooting has been identified as Jarrod Warren Ramos, a 38-year-old who reportedly had a dispute with the newspaper after it reported on his 2011 harassment case. He sued the paper for defamation, but it was dismissed.
Hiaasen is best known for his work at the Miami Herald and his successful novels, including Hoot, Strip Tease, Lucky You and Flush. Rob's wife told the Sun he was proud of his older brother.1comments