Penner made headlines in 2007 when he announced he was a transsexual and began writing under the byline "Christine Daniels". In 2008, he reclaimed the "Mike Penner" byline.
Here's Times editor Russ Stanton's memo to staff on Penner's passing:
I am very saddened to report that Mike Penner, whose work graced our pages for two-and-a-half decades, passed away last night.
We've posted a short story on the site this morning http://latimesblogs.latimes.
com/lanow/and a longer piece will follow for both the web and tomorrow's paper.
Mike was a first-rate journalist, a valued member of our staff and we will miss him. He respected our readers a great deal, enough to share with them his very personal journey. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.