Sac Bee cartoonist Rex Babin dies of cancer

I’ve learned that Sacramento Bee editorial cartoonist Rex Babin passed away this morning after battling with cancer. His paper announced last March that he was taking a medical leave for two weeks, but the leave extended much longer. He still contributed cartoons up to the end. His last cartoon ran on March 4th.

Rex was with the Sacramento Bee since 1999 and prior to that the Albany New York Times Union. He was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2003 and the National Press Foundation – Berryman Award winner in 2001. He was president of the American Association of Editorial Cartoonists from 2009-2010 and his work was syndicated through King Features.

He leaves behind his wife Kathleen and their son Sebastian.

Below is February 2011 video of him talking about his cartoons and influences. He would have known at this point of his diagnosis.

The Sacramento Bee has posted their obituary of their colleague.

Sacramento Bee Publisher and President Cheryl Dell said, “Rex shared a piece of himself with every cartoon he drew – that is why we all feel like we know him so well. His wit, wisdom, sense of optimism and friendship will be sorely missed both by readers and his Bee family.”

Bee Editorial Page Editor Stuart Leavenworth said, “Rex was an extraordinary colleague and friend, and he had few peers in crafting cartoons that provoked laughter, anger, empathy and a strong sense of community. Right up until his last weeks, he was using his unique talents to help us make sense of California, his home state. His perseverance inspired all of us who had the chance to work with him.”

29 thoughts on “Sac Bee cartoonist Rex Babin dies of cancer

    1. This news is hitting me pretty hard despite meeting him only once (I believe we talked on the phone a couple of times while he was AAEC Pres.) He struck me as one of the genuine good guys. Even while he was extremely busy running the AAEC convention in Portland, he bent over backwards to make me feel welcome, not just as a panelist, but as an attendee.

      My heart goes out to his family.

  1. Thanks for posting this, Alan.

    Rex was a passionate and creative voice that will be missed.
    But he was an even better friend, husband and father. To me, he was a brother.
    Cheers, Rex.


  2. I cant believe this, so sad, Rex was a SUPER TALENT, one of the best, and a really nice guy. RIP Rex

  3. Rex was one of the first guys I got to know when I joined the AAEC years ago (we joined at roughly the same time). No convention was complete without his unfailingly friendly company. That someone who always was on the go, in great physical condition and with a beautiful family should die so young is simply unfair. We’ve lost a good buddy and a unique cartooning talent.

    My thoughts are with Kathleen and Sebastian.

  4. So unfair. He fought with every fiber of his being to live over the past year or so. He had so much to live for. What a devastating and unfathomable loss.

  5. A very influential cartoonist that carried his unique style in a bold way. Smart, funny, kind and true. Rex will be missed for the good person he was and the talent of his mighty pen.
    I am deeply saddened at the loss of this devoted colleague and friend.

  6. Rex was one of the really good guys in the business. He was to consummate professional and his unique style always provided a new surprise with each cartoon. A great talent who was taken from us much too soon.

  7. No matter what one’s cartooning stature, Rex was always a warm and friendly guy. My heart aches, especially for his family. A terrible loss.

  8. Gary and Alan are both right, Rex was a truly great guy. This is horrible, depressing news.

  9. What sad news. Rex was a good man with a great talent, a true professional, and someone who actively contributed his all to the AAEC. He and I had some great times over the years. My deepest sympathies to his family.

  10. I was shocked to hear this. I remember first meeting Rex at my first AAEC convention which was in Memphis. He told me I drew too many speech ballons. He was always a fun guy to talk to and really supportive over the years. He threw a great bash in Sacramento. He’ll be missed. My sympathies to his family, friends and readers.

  11. Met Rex in my first AAEC convention, I was sitting next to him in one of the conferences, I knew Babin’s work, truly original and unique work, but didn’t knew the guy sitting next to me was him, he introduced himself and talked to me to make me feel welcome, what a nice and talented guy.

    Descansa en Paz Rex.

  12. The video presentation had me belly laughing! Rex’s art is a bold reflection of his character and talent. A remarkable example of man who lived in his strength.

  13. Rex has always been so generous in his charitable contributions to the Cartoons & Cocktails annual auction. Editorial cartoonists are the finest people in the world, and Rex was among the best of the best.

  14. Like so many commenting here I considered Rex a wonderful friend and as a long time McClatchy cartoonist stablemate had great respect for his work. More times than I’d like to admit I found myself wishing I’d thought up something he came up with. Rex had a unique style and view of things. He loved his profession and his fellow practitioners, was always quick to contribute to the fun factor, and could step up when more serious things called. RIP, Rex. Sincere condolences to Kathleen and Sebastian.

  15. So sad to lose such a good guy.
    We will remember him at our annual Fischetti celebration of editorial cartooning on Thursday.

    Condolences to his wife and son. May he rest in peace, with the respect and friendship of his peers and appreciators.

  16. Rex could tell the story visually and I enjoyed his stories at AAEC during my previous life as editor of TMS. His work took issues head on around the nation and world. Most of his editorial cartoons left readers with a smile. We will keep him in our thoughts and prayers.

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