Joseph Rago, 34, a Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial writer for The Wall Street Journal, has died, the media outlet reported Friday.

Police were still investigating the cause of death and there was no apparent sign of trauma when paramedics arrived at his New York apartment Thursday night.

Authorities were alerted by Paul Gigot, the Journal‘s editorial page editor, after Rago did not turn up for work.

“It is with a heavy heart that we confirm the death of Joseph Rago, a splendid journalist and beloved friend,” Gigot said in a statement. “Joe and his family are in our thoughts and prayers, and we will be celebrating his work in Saturday’s paper.”

In a political moment dominated by often shrill media voices and the specter of fake news, Rago stood out as a precocious talent who grounded his work in rigorous reporting that garnered respect from both sides of the political aisle.

“Such terrible news,” tweeted NBC’s Joe Scarborough. “He was so gifted and a good guy.”

Avik Roy, a heathcare author and adviser to numerous Republican presidential candidates tweeted that “Joe Rago is irreplaceable as a writer and a human being.”

Rago, a native of Falmouth, Mass., was a graduate of Dartmouth College and joined the Journal as a summer intern in 2005. Gigot immediately hired him, and Rago rose quickly through the ranks, eventually becoming a part of the newspaper’s conservative editorial board.

While still in his 20s, Rago was awarded the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing for a series of pieces critiquing ObamaCare. 

“The White House is launching its latest Willy Loman campaign to resell ObamaCare, helped by $125 million that unions and other interest groups say they’ll spend to make Americans love their new entitlement,” Rago wrote in a June 11, 2010 article. “Seniors in particular should curb their enthusiasm.”

Rago’s last editorial, titled “The ObamaCare Republicans,” was published on Wednesday.

The Journal plans to celebrate Rago and his work in its Saturday edition.

Follow USA TODAY tech reporter Marco della Cava @marcodellacava

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