The Baltimore Sun


NPR commentator

Leroy Sievers, a National Public Radio commentator who turned his battle with cancer into a popular and touching radio and online series, died of the disease Friday at his Maryland home, NPR announced Saturday.

He received a diagnosis of colon cancer in 2001. In 2005, cancer was found in his brain and lungs.

A report on his chemotherapy treatments in February 2006 was broadcast on Morning Edition and met with an enthusiastic response from listeners. It eventually became a regular series and feature on the network's Web site.

"For the past two years, Leroy shared his life with cancer on the air and online with passion, wit and a kind, brutal honesty that created a safe space for an open and candid dialogue about the disease," NPR Vice President for News Ellen Weiss said in a statement.

His cancer continued to spread during the past few years. After several surgeries, he recently decided to stop treatment.

Mr. Sievers worked as a journalist for more than 25 years, including 10 years at CBS News and 14 years at ABC News - four of them as executive producer of Nightline. He covered more than a dozen wars and was embedded with Ted Koppel to cover the Iraq war and produce The Fallen, a tribute to soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"Cancer was not in Leroy's plans. But he turned his battle with cancer into the most dramatic, the most moving and the most important story of his life," Mr. Koppel wrote on NPR's Web site.

Mr. Sievers is survived by his wife, Laurie Singer. Funeral arrangements were pending.


Pediatric medicine pioneer

Dr. Joan Hodgman, an influential pediatrician who helped define the field of neonatology and establish guidelines that improved the standards for newborn care, died of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease, Aug. 10 at a family cabin in Oregon, according to her daughter, Ann Schwartz.

Dr. Hodgman spent 60 years at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, and served from 1957 to 1986 as director of its newborn division. She played a key role in developing its intensive care unit for sick and premature babies - the first in Los Angeles and among the first in the U.S. - and led efforts that sharply cut the hospital's infant mortality rate.

A professor of pediatrics at the University of Southern California who wrote or contributed to more than 300 articles and books, Dr. Hodgman was known particularly for her studies on sudden infant death syndrome.

A widow at 47 who never remarried, Dr. Hodgman was diagnosed with ALS last year but continued to work until she retired in February.

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