It is with a heavy heart that we inform you of the passing of Tom Sexton, the older brother of Poker Hall of Famer Mike Sexton and former columnist for PokerNews, who lost his battle with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer early Tuesday morning.
Back in July, PokerNews reported that Sexton had suffered a massive stroke as the result of previously undiagnosed Stage 4 pancreatic cancer on June 10, 2013.
My brother & best friend, Tom Sexton, passed away early on Oct 1st. He died of pancreatic cancer. He'll be missed by all. #restinpeaceTomFollow @MikeSexton_WPT
For PokerNews readers, you may recall Sexton as the author of the popular Sexton’s Corner column, which ran from July 2007 to September 2008 under former PokerNews Editor-in-Chief and current PokerStars executive John Caldwell.
Tom’s first piece for PokerNews — Sexton's Corner, Volume 1 - The Cab is Parked — detailed the relationship he shared with his brother Mike as well as an entertaining story about how Tom gave a piggyback ride to a grandmother in a hurry to make her flight.
“Tom has an energy and enthusiasm when he's telling a story that is so genuine and pure,” Caldwell previously explained. “The amazement and joy he expresses are very real emotions. That kind of energy and enthusiasm is super contagious. I really enjoyed hearing Tom's stories on the floor of the WSOP. And, let's face it — when it's 2 a.m. and you're watching guys chop stud-8 pots over and over — it really helps to have a guy who is a great storyteller!”
In addition to writing the column, Sexton has served as the official photographer for the World Series of Poker back in its days at Binion’s Horseshoe, collaborated on poker projects with his brother including the original Tournament of Champions, and owned Poker Masterpieces, which saw him create artistic and unique collages for some of poker’s biggest names.
Like his brother, Tom was an accomplished gymnast. He attended the University of Oklahoma on a full gymnastic scholarship, where he was captain of the team four straight years, becoming the first NCAA All-American and Big Eight Champion in OU's gymnastics history in 1968. He is also an accomplished dancer.
“One of my favorite things about Tom, we would go dancing every night,” recalled long-time friend Linda Johnson. “Mike is a great dancer, but Tom is even more amazing. Tom was on [a TV dance show]. He taught dancing. Their father, Ray Sexton, owned dance studios, and I have recordings of them when they’re young kids doing dance exhibitions. He always made me look like a good dancer. Tom always said, ‘The man is the frame and the woman is the picture.’”
Johnson was just one of numerous poker personalities to express his or her condolences on Twitter:
Condolences to @MikeSexton_WPT and family on his brother Tom's passing. Tom made the world a better place. I was fortunate to know him.Follow @FirstLadyPoker
Condolences to @MikeSexton_WPT + family for loss of Tom. Tom key player in industry + great for @Pokernews http://t.co/GBlfzY7aak #RIPFollow @TonyGuoga
Had the pleasure of working closely with Tom Sexton at the WSOP. His stories were one-of-a-kind and his kind soul unmatched. Rest well, Tom!Follow @GarryGates
Very sad to hear of the loss of Tom Sexton brother of @MikeSexton_WPT. Tom played a key role in creation of @partypoker #ripFollow @partypoker
Tom Sexton is survived by his wife, Ann; and three children, Kent, Kim, and Marilyn; four grandchildren, four brothers and two sisters.
*Photos courtesy of youcaring.com.