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We'll miss you, Amateur Chemist…

Andrew Youssef, the writer-photographer whose valiant battle against colon cancer he documented for us in his “Last Shot” column, passed away peacefully this weekend surrounded by family and friends. He was 38.

We at the Weekly are devastated, and our thoughts and prayers are with him and his loved ones. But we are also happy to know Andrew was able to experience the love and respect of the music world in his last months, a community that would not let their colleague face the damned disease alone.

OC Weekly music editor Nate Jackson's touching October cover story on Andrew is but a glimpse into how beloved and respected he was.

The story came out before Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor Facetimed Andrew, making him a viral sensation. It was before we helped throw a party for Andrew at the Observatory that drew hundreds on a cold Sunday night, a party that involved slideshows of Andrew's life and his greatest photographs for us, Stereogum, and others. It was before Andrew finally, boldly allowed friends and family to create a Paypal account to help him defray medical costs–before that, he declined all requests for help, saying others deserved it more.

Here is Reznor's touching shout-out to Andrew just a couple of weeks ago, just as NIN was going to play the rarely performed “In this Twilight,” one of Andrew's favorite songs and the title of one of his most powerful columns:

Andrew's last tweet was telling of his character: self-effacing, humble, incredulous that anyone would care about him:

OC Weekly's Heard Mentality blog has more coverage about Andrew's life, and will continue to write about him, including remembrances, a roundup of his greatest hits, and any details on memorial services for him, of which I'm sure there'll be more than a few.

Andrew is the third OC Weekling to leave us before his time, joining former music editor Buddy Seigal and writer Nguyen Huy Vu in the great mosh pit in the sky. And, befitting their personas, we can see it right now: Buddy is performing some inappropriate blueser and cracking even more inappropriate jokes, Vu is gleefully smashing into the rest of the saints, and Andrew is front and center, busy shooting, covering, and loving it all.

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