Steve Lawrence, who had been the longest-tenured member of California’s capital press corps when he retired in 2009 after 37 years with the Associated Press, died Feb. 22, 2019, the AP reports. He was 71 and had cancer.

“People liked him, the elected officials and staffers, but he was a true wire service reporter — he had to get the story so he would ask very blunt questions,” said Jeff Raimundo, a former reporter with The Sacramento Bee who became friends with Lawrence while they covered the state Senate in the 1970s. “He was aggressive … a very forceful reporter.”