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As reported by Newsarama yesterday on August 24, 2018, Russ Heath has passed away after a battle with cancer. Russ had just received the lifetime achievement award, the Stacey Aragon Special Recognition Award, this past June 15 at the final live awards ceremony at Heroes Con. Bob Almond shared the following at his Facebook account timeline:
Sad way to start a day. My only memory to share regarding Russ Heath was fairly recent and, apparently now, during a serious decline in his health this year. Russ was living at home last January when we contacted his close friend Steven L. Wyatt (who unofficially acted as a handler for conventions) that he had won the Inkwell Awards’ Stacey Aragon Special Recognition Award. Russ was in a wheelchair but he wanted to attend Heroes Con to receive it and Steve hoped he could travel with him. Promoter Shelton Drum was ready to assist in any way for us to get him there. After some communication delays regarding travel plans I finally reached Steven in early April to sadly hear that Russ had to go to assisted living in Long Beach 140 miles away due to some mobility issues and would not be able to attend shows anymore. Communications were few and infrequent after that but we were able to ship the trophy to Steve and then waited for a follow-up. A pal of Steve’s, Pat McGreal, later contacted me saying that he lives near the home and Steve asked him if he could record on video Russ receiving the award. The recording was ultimately not used because Russ couldn’t think of anything to say and he was also dealing with hearing problems and confusion. So Pat captured a shot from the video to be used as a photo for the award ceremony slideshow by Inkwell contributor Ray Burke who was able to add it like 2 days from the event (shown below in comments). Much like Dick Giordano, Bernie Wrightson, Dick Ayers and Murphy Anderson before him, the Inkwell Awards were so relieved to be able to show appreciation for these masters’ works through a lifetime achievement award while they were still around to appreciate it. (Due to technical problems we weren’t able to add his name to our site yet so he wasn’t credited for our award on Wikipedia. That is being handled now.) Rest in peace, Russ!
The Inkwell Awards organization sends it’s sincere condolences to Russ’ family and loved ones.