Sidney Harman, executive chairman of Newsweek and its digital arm The Daily Beast, died Tuesday night of acute myeloid leukemia. "It is with great sadness I have to announce that Sidney Harman died last night," writes Tina Brown, editor-in-chief of The Newsweek Daily Beast Company. "All of us at Newsweek mourn his passing." At 92-years-old, the longtime-businessman-turned magazine publisher leaves behind one of America's most iconic magazine brands as it undergoes a rocky transition to the digital age. In an obituary posted on The Daily Beast, Jonathan Alter (who recently announced his departure from the magazine, one of many Newsweek veterans to take a buy-out) wrote, "When he died April 12 after a brief battle with leukemia, it came as a shock. He was 92 and expected to live past 100. We all believed him."
In August 2010, Harman purchased the ailing Newsweek for $1 from The Washington Post Co. Soon after he hired Brown as editor and merged the newsweekly with the website she created at Barry Diller's IAC, The Daily Beast.
Harman was married to retiring L.A congresswoman Jane Harman. Soon after Harman was announced as Newsweek's new owner last summer, rumors surfaced that she was eyeing a perch at the magazine as an "exit strategy" from her political career. But she pledged to stay away from the magazine, giving L.A. Weekly this statement
Sidney was quoted recently as saying: "I don't tell Jane how to vote and she doesn't tell me how to run my business." That's our rule and we stick to it. Of course I am proud of his long and successful career and believe that Newsweek and its enormously talented workforce will be in good and caring hands.
Harman, meanwhile, told the Washington Post that the most likely members to inherit his interest in the magazine would be his children. However, that was before the merger with The Daily Beast. And even before Harman's passing, new editor Brown and her lieutenants, with the backing of Diller, were asserting themselves in the new partnership. Whether any Harmans are involved in the Newsweek-Daily Beast combination going forward is an open question. According to Diller, the family would like to be involved. "When [Sidney Harman] told me of his illness, he said he and his family wanted to continue as partners in Newsweek/Beast in all events" Diller said.