Farewell to best friend in the world

If you are a local music fan of a certain age, then you are aware of the recent passing of WXRT DJ Lin Brehmer. Sadly, Lin died of prostate cancer this past January at the age of 68.

I have to tell you, this hit me quite hard. I have been a fan of XRT since my high school days, and Lin has been there almost the entire time. I didn't really know him personally, although he was a friend of my sister's, so I had the good fortune of meeting him a few times at concerts. Jovial, hearty laugh. Big hug. More often than not Lin was the life of the party and he happily embraced that role.

Otherwise, I didn't actually have a direct connection to Lin, which is why I'm still trying to figure out why his death affected me the way it did. He's been a mainstay on the radio for decades, and I most certainly took him for granted every time I turned on 93.1 FM. But he's not the first local public figure to come and go.

I think a lot had to do with the fact that Lin was a dying breed. A radio personality who injected as much happiness with his words as he did with his playlists. Lin was quite the music aficionado. He took his craft seriously, although on the surface you might not have immediately recognized it. It wasn't unusual for him to spew out some trivial tidbit about an obscure punk bank from the 1980s. It came naturally to Lin.

And Lin loved watching live music. I will forever wonder if he ever slept. He never missed a local concert. Yet no matter what day of the week or how late the show ended, he was always on time for his early morning slot the next day.

I suppose for most of us, it was Lin's endearing, amiable personality we connected with. Not only did he love music, he loved life and loved his job. He was so relatable to everyone who listened to him.

You really felt like Lin was your buddy from the bar who you could carry on a conversation with about anything (especially the Cubs). He thoroughly enjoyed life to its absolute fullest and effortlessly passed that affection on to his listeners.

Regardless of the reason, there's a big hole on Chicago's radio dial now, and it will take me a while to get over it.

Lin was a man of stories, anecdotes and adages. Some silly, most of them funny and just about all of them profound. But he'll forever be remembered for his favorite: "Take nothing for granted. It's great to be alive."

Truer words have never been spoken.

RIP Lin.

- John Bourjaily of Golfview Hills is a contributing columnist. Readers can email him at [email protected].