In sports and life, the word “great” is often misused and inappropriately hyperbolic. But when referring to Marcus Henry, “the Great Marcus Henry,” it is exceedingly applicable.

It has been over one week since my good friend Larry Hardesty of ESPN contacted me, deeply shaken, to share and confirm the passing of Henry. The information had just been made public when Hardesty called me, and my phone subsequently rang incessantly for the remainder of that day.

Numerous members of the sports journalism fraternity were profoundly saddened and dramatically stunned by Henry’s sudden expiration. He touched the lives of many in countless ways with his smile, kindness, intelligence, wisdom and giving. And the widespread reaction from the digital, print and broadcast media extolling Henry as the wonderful man that he is affirms this.

I write “is” in the present tense because Henry’s spirit remains with me. He is my friend, little brother, colleague and confidante. Henry and I experienced numerous wonderful and memorable moments together. Side by side, we covered arguably some of the foremost events in sports history—reporting, learning, laughing and never taking for granted how blessed we were to have such an extraordinary opportunity.

In addition to spending many years working together as writers for this publication, Rennie Bishop of 1600 WWRL opened the door for us to co-host a sports radio show together on the station. While Henry and I had numerous provocative discussions and debates on air, our best material manifested while driving or just sitting in a car, at ringside during fights, courtside at basketball games and—as his beautiful wife, Carmela Henry, can attest—well after midnight over the phone.

However, our most meaningful discussions were about life, faith and family, as we provided each other balance, insight and wisdom. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’” Henry resoundingly answered that question. He did for others in abundance, particularly through his church, Union Baptist in Hempstead, Long Island.

By any measure, simply put, Marcus Henry is one of the greatest men I have ever known.