Stephen Mindich, the longtime owner and publisher of the now-defunct Boston Phoenix, died Wednesday at age 74.
His daughter-in-law, Rachael Mindich, shared news of his death in a Facebook group for former employees of the Phoenix. Her father-in-law died, she wrote, "after a courageous 4 year battle with pancreatic cancer."
Since the early 1970s, Mindich served as publisher of the award-winning alt-weekly, which delivered progressive coverage of local politics and edgy criticism of arts and culture. The tabloid shuttered in 2013. He also operated the alt-rock station WFNX-FM for close to 30 years.
In a statement to his staff when the Phoenix and WFNX closed, Mindich wrote:
What I can and will say is I am extremely proud, as all of you should be, of the highest standards of journalism we have set and maintained throughout the decades in all of our areas of coverage and the important role we have played in driving political and socially progressive and responsible agendas; in covering the worlds of arts and entertainment, food and fashion – always with a critical view, while at the same time promoting their enormous importance in maintaining a healthy society; and in advocating for the recognition and acceptance of a wide range of lifestyles that are so valuable for a vibrant society.
An outpouring of remembrances on Twitter describe Mindich as someone who cultivated a community of journalists and was dedicated to supporting Boston's cultural scene.
Peter Kadzis, former executive editor of the Phoenix, tweeted that Mindich "demonstrated his love of the arts by his fierce commitment to arts journalism."
Carly Carioli, former editor of the Phoenix, shared on Twitter that Mindich took a chance on hiring him, and "did that for hundreds of journalists who, for whatever reason, he believed in, no matter how strange or damaged or different we were."
After growing up in the Bronx, Mindich graduated from Boston University and covered arts and entertainment for WBUR. He then started writing for Boston After Dark, an alt-weekly arts publication, before he became its owner and merged it with the Cambridge Phoenix to start the Boston Phoenix.