AP's Dave Martin Collapses, Dies, At Bowl Game

Jan 1, 2014
(ABOVE): Veteran Associated Press photojournalist Dave Martin, 59, collapsed and died New Year's Eve while covering the Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta, GA. (BELOW): Just one of the legions of Dave Martin's great photographs, Phil Mickelson winning the Masters.
(ABOVE): Veteran Associated Press photojournalist Dave Martin, 59, collapsed and died New Year's Eve while covering the Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta, GA. (BELOW): Just one of the legions of Dave Martin's great photographs, Phil Mickelson winning the Masters.

ATLANTA, GA (January 1, 2014) – Veteran Associated Press photojournalist Dave Martin collapsed on the field at the conclusion of the Chick-fil-A Bowl Game at the Georgia Dome on New Year's Eve. First responders and team medical staff began immediate and vigorous cardiopulmonary resuscitation, but Martin, 59, was pronounced dead soon-after at the Emory University Hospital Midtown. He apparently suffered a massive heart attack.

He is survived by his wife, Jamie Martin, and their two children, Emily and Skip.

There will be a memorial for Martin on in Montgomery, AL, on Monday, January 6, 2014, at 3:00 p.m. at Shashy's Bakery & Fine Foods, 1700 Mulberry Street.

Texas A&M made an unlikely comeback in the game's closing minutes to beat Duke, and shortly before Martin collapsed he made a fantastic photograph of A&M coach Kevin Sumlin being doused with a bucket of ice water by some of the Aggies players. Among his many photographic skills, Martin was renown for his uncanny ability to get end-of-game Gatorade dunk shots and the traditional coaches' post-game mid-field handshake. After that watery shot Martin continued to shoot pictures and when he got near to the coaches' handshake, he collapsed in the background.

Martin was an extremely well-known and admired photographer across the South for decades. He was a teacher, mentor, and coach to countless young photographers across the country who credit Martin for the major role he played in their early careers. With so many photographers on the Georgia Dome field last night who saw what happened, word of Martin's condition spread rapidly overnight through journalism and online communities, and tributes to him sprang up on Facebook and Twitter. 

A Facebook tribute page recalled how their friend, nicknamed "Mullet," began his career at the Lakeland Ledger in Florida in 1982 before joining AP in 1983. In 2004, he was named the AP's regional photo editor for the South. One shared memory was about how Martin liked to deep-fry turkeys outside the photo trailer at Super Bowl games, often with interesting results.

AP vice president and global photography director Santiago Lyon reacted this morning to Martin's death. ""Dave Martin was an excellent photojournalist, a consummate and dedicated professional and a wonderful person. Wherever his work took him he made many friends and will be deeply missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing him."

Based in Montgomery, AL, Martin covered nearly every major news story and sports event in the South during the past 30 years. He also traveled for AP covering news and NASCAR, the Master's, Olympic Games, Ryder Cup, Super Bowls, and the conflict in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Haiti.

Alabama Governor Robert J. Bentley this afternoon issued a statement about Martin. 

"Dave Martin was one of the best photojournalists that I have had the privilege of working with over the years," the Governor wrote. "He has covered nearly every major news event in the South over his 30 year career. He traveled with me in the aftermath of the April 2011 tornado outbreak, and told the story of the storm’s devastation in some of the best photos I have seen. Dave was well respected by all those who knew him and worked with him, and he leaves a great legacy of work with the Associated Press. Dianne and I are praying for Dave’s wife Jamie, who is a valuable member of my staff, and their children Emily and Skip. May God bring them comfort and peace in the difficult days ahead.”