Veteran journalist Danny Malkovich died Friday morning after suffering an apparent heart attack earlier in the week.
Malkovich was publisher of The Benton Evening News -- a newspaper that had been in his family for several decades.
"This is a tremendous loss to Danny';s family and friends, as well as to his newspaper family," news editor Diana Winson said.
Arrangements are pending at Hobbs-Johnson Funeral Home in Benton.
Family members said Daniel Ewing Malkovich, 59, passed away at St. Mary';s Good Samaritan Hospital in Mt. Vernon.
"You had to know him to love him," said John Croessman, longtime publisher of The Du Quoin Evening Call -- whose career in the newspaper business paralleled Malkovich';s.
"We both go back to that time when the newspapers were family-owned. Danny and his family were just amazing; he was so proud of the family history and connectivity with that paper," said Croessman, who also had worked with Malkovich';s father, Dan Sr., former editor of Outdoor Illinois magazine.
Joe R. Browning, a publisher of the Benton newspaper during the 1980s, said news of Danny Malkovich';s death "kicked me in the gut."
"He was a special guy," Browning said in a phone call from his home in southern California. "I know this is a tough time for those who knew him personally and professionally, but I know he has two women taking care of him now: his mother and grandmother (Joe Anne Malkovich and Edna Choisser, both of whom were co-workers of Danny';s at the newspaper).
"I can just hear him saying, 'Oh, Frog, I';m going to have spend eternity with you.'"
Co-workers remember Danny Malkovich as a talented journalist who cared deeply about his family and friends -- and as someone who loved to laugh.
"He had a great sense of humor, he really did," composition manager Michelle Boner said.
Malkovich is survived by his wife, Debbie Malkovich of Sesser; sons, Matthew Malkovich and wife, Brandi, of Orlando, Fla., and Tim Eubanks and wife, Kim, of Benton; grandchildren, T.J. Eubanks of Sesser and Bayley Eubanks of Benton; brother, John Malkovich and Nicole Peyran of Cambridge, Mass.; two sisters, Melissa Malkovich and Joe Starita of Seagrove Beach, Fla., and Rebecca Malkovich of Benton; and nieces and nephews, Loewy and Amandine Malkovich of Cambridge, Mass., Jesse Starita of Lincoln, Neb., and Jake and Eli Ivanovich of Benton.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Dan and Joe Anne Malkovich, and by a sister, Amanda.