When a writer dies young–and Jim Frederick, who died of cardiac arrest July 31 in Oakland, Calif., at 42, was very young–we mourn the work that will never be. As a writer and editor at MONEY and TIME, Jim produced penetrating stories about whatever caught his attention. He’ll be remembered for his masterpiece, the Iraq War book Black Hearts. The Guardian called it the best book to come out of the conflict–no small feat, as shelves groan from volumes of memoir, reportage and fiction gleaned from those years and that place.
But for those who knew Jim, the loss of the work is secondary. Jim had an enormous talent for friendship, which is why so many people, in so many places, were left bereft by his loss. In Tokyo, in London and in New York, he served as a mentor and as a role model for countless young journalists. When Jim took over as the international editor of TIME in 2011, I asked for a transfer to that side of the magazine, almost solely for the chance to work with Jim. I’m glad I did.
This appears in the August 25, 2014 issue of TIME.