By: E&P Staff
Chicago Tribune reporter Peter Gorner, who won a Pulitzer Prize for a 1986 series on gene therapy, died June 27 at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. He was 64.
Gorner died of lung cancer, his wife Jacqueline told the Tribune in an obituary written by staff reporter Trevor Jensen.
Gorner worked at the Tribune for 40 years, starting as a reporter in 1965. He was a classical music critic and features writer before turning an interest in science into reporting that won the 1987 Pulitzer for him and Jeff Lyon.
The pair won the prize for “Altered Fates,” a series that was the result of eight months of reporting from universities and hospitals around the nation.
“Peter was just a brilliant science writer,” Lyon told the Tribune. “He had a vast knowledge and a skeptical mind, so he wasn’t easily inveigled by scientists who were making unwarranted claims. He was a wonderful cynic.”
Gorner and Lyons later turned the reporting into a 567-page book published in 1995: “Altered Fates: Gene Therapy and the Retooling of Human Life.”
“I had the good fortune to work near Peter when I started as a new features reporter at the Tribune, and it was like having a personal journalism coach,” Tribune Editor Ann Marie Lipinski said in the obituary. “He was a beautiful writer and was unfailingly generous in discussing story ideas or writing and genuinely enthusiastic about every assignment.”
A Chicago native, Gorner began his professional journalism career with a part-time job at City News Bureau, the legendary wire service that launched the careers of such luminaries as Mike Royko and Seymour Hersh.
In addition to his wife, Gorner is survived by two sons, Peter D. and Jeremy; and his mother, Virginia.
Services were to be held Monday afternoon in Wilmette, Ill.