Concert photographer Andrew Youssef, a beloved figure on the Los Angeles music scene whose drive, professionalism and courage in the face of terminal illness won him legions of admirers, died Saturday after a battle with colon cancer. He was 38.
Youssef – who shot hundreds of shows for outlets such as OC Weekly, Stereogum and his own blog Amateur Chemist since 2006 – inspired colleagues, friends and musicians everywhere by continuing to work until almost the end. Stolid in the face of his irremediable disease, Youssef, who was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer in early 2011, chronicled his final months in a series of candid columns for OC Weekly.
(Reading about his ups and downs and then seeing him at shows seemed no less than a marvel. In April, Youssef traipsed through three days of Coachella – he likened it to “running an ultramarathon.” His resolve was so great and passion to strong that it made you vow never to complain about anything, ever, again.)
Youssef’s battle became more widely known two weeks ago, when Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor called Youssef, who was unable to attend because of declining health, from a concert in Las Vegas and “facetimed” the photographer from the stage, dedicating Youssef’s favorite NIN song, “In This Twilight,” to him. On Nov. 8 at Staples Center, NIN had made the same song dedication, with Youssef in attendance.
Reznor and NIN also undertook fundraising efforts to help the family with Youssef’s medical bills. In a statement to NIN, Youssef’s brother Pat said: “He was surrounded by his family and loved ones and went peacefully. … I can honestly tell you, that your efforts and love have made a big difference for the family and Andrew.”
Youssef, a pharmacist by trade, was the subject of an OC Weekly cover story in October. The Weekly also staged a tribute night at the Observatory in early November.