David Carr, a New York Times media columnist who overcame numerous battles with addiction to become one of the nation’s most recognizable journalists, died on Thursday after collapsing in the newsroom, The New York Times announced on Thursday evening. He was 58.

“I am sorry to have to tell you that our wonderful, esteemed colleague David Carr died suddenly tonight after collapsing in the newsroom,” Times editor Dean Baquet wrote in a message to employees. “A group of us were with his wife, Jill, and one of his daughters, at the hospital. His daughter Erin said he was special, and that he was.”

Baquet continued: “He was the finest media reporter of his generation, a remarkable and funny man who was one of the leaders of our newsroom. He was our biggest champion, and his unending passion for journalism and for the truth will be missed by his family at The Times, by his readers around the world, and by people who love journalism.”

For more than two decades, Carr focused his considerable talents on media criticism, lacing his columns with incisive commentary and wit. For The New York Times, which he joined in 2002 as a business reporter writing on the magazine industry, he authored the Media Equation column, which ran on Mondays. Carr was editor of Washington City Paper before joining the Times. He was editor of the Twin Cities Reader, also an alternative weekly in Minneapolis, from 1993 to 1995.

When Carr took over Washington City Paper in 1995, he hired a core group of writers that would fan out throughout the Washington journalism class. One such writer, Michael Schaffer, now the editor of Washingtonian magazine, remembered when he first met Carr.

“He was a force of nature — just an overwhelming personality,” Schaffer, who has remained close with Carr, told The Washington Post in a phone interview. “He was my first boss, my first editor, and as a result he was always this inspiring and challenging figure in my life. He was a tremendous motivator, and had this real sort of moral core in him.”

Carr was never a man to put on airs. Raised in Minnesota, his authenticity and candor on everything from his dress to his writing to his leadership forged an almost larger-than-life personality that made him a recognizable figure in Washington. “That’s what made him a really effective journalist,” Schaffer said. “He took over City Paper as this white guy from Minnesota to lead a staff of mostly white people in a city that at that point was heavily African American. But as this reporter who didn’t come from a fancy place, who took a bunch of detours along the way [in his career], it made him really effective.”

In 2008, Carr wrote about those many detours in “The Night of the Gun,” a deeply personal and probing investigation of his battles with addiction. Drawing from public documents and interviews with characters from his past, the book told the tale of his journey from working as an alt-weekly writer in Minneapolis to his descent into crack addiction and his eventual recovery, fueled by the power of fatherhood.