Many of us have lost a good friend. Lonnie White, a former standout player at USC who went on to become a respected sportswriter at the L.A. Times, passed away on Saturday. He was 49.
Lonnie battled a rare condition called Hidradenitis Suppurativa for much of his life. In 2010, his illness was featured on the Discovery Health Channel. You can view the video above.
Lonnie's condition had been deteriorating in recent months. The Hidradenitis Suppurativa disease became more aggressive. He was diabetic, had acute pancreatitis and Crohn's disease. But Lonnie's spirit was always strong, his attitude upbeat.
In 1986, Lonnie set a USC single-season record for kickoff return yardage. That record stood until 2010 when it was broken by Robert Woods.
At the L.A. Times, he covered the Clippers, Kings, USC basketball and UCLA football. He also authored the book "UCLA vs. USC: 75 Years of the Greatest Rivalry in Sports," published by Angel City Press in 2004, and taught journalism classes at USC.
Lonnie left the Times in 2008 as part of a staff reduction.
He continued writing for online publications. In 2010, Lonnie wrote about dealing with agents during his USC playing days (1982-86). In 2011, he acknowledged accepting $14,000 in illegal payments during his USC years.
"To this day, it's something I'm ashamed about," Lonnie wrote. "Rent was overdue, and my household bills were delinquent. I needed the money to live. So accepting the $14,000 in different forms of 'benefits' over my college years three decades ago was an act of survival."
Lonnie felt it was a story he had to tell and that the account would help bring attention to the hardships and sacrifices athletes endure. Not everybody understood and there was backlash, but Lonnie never regretted sharing his experience and remained upbeat through it all.
He handled all the challenges with dignity and his positive spirit will be carried on by those who knew him.