Smith died Saturday night, a few hours after being admitted to a hospital because of blood clots. His cause of death has not been confirmed, but it's believed a blood clot traveled into one of Smith's lungs.
"He was one of the good ones," Martha Van Strander, Smith's wife, told the newspaper. "Family always came first with him."
Smith joined the Tribune in 1985 and became executive sports editor in 1990. He stayed there until 2000, when he left to join MLB.com.
He was a graduate of Catholic High in St. Petersburg, studied at the University of South Florida and the University of Florida, and began his newspaper career at the Tallahassee Democrat before going to the Tribune.
Smith broke his ankle in late January, and it's unknown if the clotting condition was specifically related to that injury.
"We're all devastated," Devil Rays general manager Chuck LaMar said. "At his age, with the family he had and the type of person he was, it is gut-wrenching. He was a consummate professional, fun to be around and well-respected."
Smith is survived by his wife and two children. Funeral arrangements were still pending Sunday.
By: (AP) Paul C. Smith, a former executive sports editor of The Tampa Tribune who went on to cover the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for the team's Web site, has died. He was 46.