A freelance reporter for the Beachcomber newspaper has died after suffering a fall and hitting his head on the hardscape while taking photos of the Pride Parade on May 17, according to the publication’s publisher, Jay Beeler.
Michael Sandow died eight days after the accident, to which Long Beach Fire Department paramedics responded at Ocean Boulevard and Cerritos Avenue shortly before noon, when they found Sandow unconscious and suffering from head trauma.
He was transported to St. Mary Medical Center and later that day operated on to relieve fluid pressure on the brain. He remained in a comatose state until his passing at 12:30am on May 25. Because Sandow was a 69-year-old with diabetes, it is believed that he suffered from a diabetic seizure, causing the fall, according to Beeler.
A native of the Chicago area, Sandow moved to Long Beach in October 2014 to live downtown with a friend that he had known since they were both 18 years old. In January he responded to a Beachcomber advertisement for a writer and thereafter submitted more than a dozen published stories, Beeler said.
“Michael was a freelance writer for nine years at the Forest Park Post before coming to Long Beach,” Beeler said. “He was very talented and eager to explore his new surroundings. The Pride Parade offered an opportunity to photograph the large, iconic, rainbow banner typically seen in the parade.” It is unknown if he ever captured the image prior to his fall.
Sandow’s feature stories included a recent Aquarium of the Pacific presentation by oceanographer Bill Patzert, the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach coverage and mandatory dog neutering.
“Until my recent move, I was usually producing five 1,000-word pieces per issue. They were sometimes accompanied by photos,” Sandow told Beeler in a January email. “The articles I wrote ranged from store openings to local events and some interesting places I encountered in my local travels.”
Sandow was born in Washington, D.C. on December 16, 1945, the son of Cliff and Anne Sandow, who are now deceased. He grew up with two younger sisters, Shelley and Courtney, and two younger brothers, Peter and John– all currently living in the Forest Park area, a suburb directly west of downtown Chicago.
He attended St. Veronica Grammar School and Lane Tech High School in Chicago. His sister Courtney said that Michael “did service in the U.S. Army, was once married with two stepsons, divorced, and worked at a camera store in South Bend, Indiana, before moving back to Forest Park.”
Stepson Richard Sypel later confirmed that Sandow was married to Sharon for about 20 years. Along with his other stepson, Phillip Sypel, Sandow is survived by six grandchildren, all living in South Bend.
Sandow’s younger brother, John, stated “he really loved the idea of society evolving to the future. Mike believed in the future more than he let on. The electric race cars at the Grand Prix, for instance,” in reference to an April 17 story he authored about Formula E race cars.
A private, family memorial is planned at a future time and place.