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Politico V.P. and Assoc. Publisher Dies of Cancer

Politico‘s V.P. and Associate Publisher Mike McGrath died this morning after a lengthy struggle with lung cancer. He was part of the publication’s executive team since 2007. Before Politico he worked in ad sales at TWT and had some 20 years of experience before arriving at the Rossyln outlet. He wrote a final email to Executive Editor Jim VandeHei on Friday in which he shared news of a birthday sleepover party for his daughter.

McGrath grew up in Greensburg, Pa. and graduated from Towson State University. He survived by his wife, Tricia, of 16 years, and two daughters. The family resides in Annapolis, Md.

Our condolences. Read the note dubbed “Sad news…” after the jump from Robert Allbritton, Fred Ryan, VandeHarris, Roy Schwartz and Kim Kingsley…

Dear staff,

We have some very sad news to share. Mike McGrath, a treasured leader, colleague and friend, passed away this morning after a long bout with lung cancer. He died peacefully and with his wife and children at his side.

McGrath, for those of you lucky enough to know him, was a man of immeasurable cheer, charm and optimism. He had an infectious love of life, family and his profession. McGrath was always quick with a good-natured joke and a booming smile that won’t soon be forgotten by his friends, family and colleagues in this town.

Mike always had his priorities right. He talked with such joy about his family, especially his wife, Tricia, and two girls, Reagan and Corrine.  Thankfully, he spent his final hours surrounded by them.  In his last email to Jim late Friday, he was bragging on his plans to take his daughter and a dozen friends to birthday dinner and a sleepover. In a back-and-forth with Roy Schwartz over the weekend, Mike was telling Roy how he deserved a restful and fun weekend. He was joyful to the end.

Mike loved superlatives, so it’s only fitting – and richly deserved – that we use more than a few to describe his role in building this company into the financial success it is today.  McGrath was a giant in the sales world, with an uncanny understanding of the Washington market and unmatched familiarity with the men and women who buy ads in this town.  He was a natural for his job, vice president and associate publisher.  He joined us in 2007, after a distinguished career at The Washington Times, and it was not a coincidence that within one year our infant publication was profitable. He took such pride and interest in the lives of the people around him, so he always knew their hobbies, their favorite wines or family issues. He could pick up the phone and turn a substantial deal based on his word and reputation alone. More importantly, he was a mentor to so many people in our company, a father-like figure to Jack Smith, Aaron Finley and others, always teaching, and always watching their backs. He was an essential tutor to all of us in learning about this market and the business side of our industry.

He was all of this to the end. Weakened by illness, Mike worked through considerable pain and inconvenience, never complaining, never closing off those around him, and never losing that big McGrath smile. He will be greatly missed. We will find an appropriate way to honor his life and legacy soon. Until then, please join us in keeping Mike, Tricia and their two young girls in your thoughts and prayers.

Robert, Fred, Jim, John, Roy, Kim

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