A sports journalist who worked on the Los Angeles Times has been found dead in an apparent suicide.

Mike Penner, 52, who worked for the newspaper for 25 years, had struggled with his sexual identity.

In April 2007, he announced in a column that he would be beginning hormone treatment and returning to work under the name of Christine Daniels.

At the time, he wrote: “I am a transsexual sportswriter. It has taken more than 40 years, a million tears and hundreds of hours of soul-wrenching therapy for me to work up the courage to type those words.”

Under the female name, the reporter began chronicling the change from male to female in a blog titled Woman in Progress.

However, Penner quietly returned to his male name in October 2008 after a leave of absence.

The Los Angeles coroner’s office said Penner was found dead on Friday but did not give any further details.

Los Angeles Times sports editor Mike James described Penner’s death as “a tragedy”.

James said: “He was one of the most talented writers I’ve ever worked with. He was a gentle man, a kind man.”