Published October 6, 1999, in the Miami Herald

Alan Baskin, pioneering diver, dies of cancer
'Living eulogy' posted on Web


In his final days, Alan Baskin took one trip out of bed each day -- to go to the computer and see what his friends were saying about him.

A longtime friend distraught by the news of Baskin's pancreatic cancer had posted a "living" eulogy on the World Wide Web. The site became so popular it drew responses from Micronesia to Maryland, and comments from old friends such as retired CBS anchor Walter Cronkite and author George Plimpton.

Baskin died Tuesday afternoon in Miami Beach, but not before knowing how much he was loved, said his daughter, Roberta Baskin. The Web site,, has hundreds of messages posted.

"He was humbled by it," Roberta Baskin said.

A scuba diver who founded a dive resort operation in the Caribbean 30 years ago, Baskin had made more than 13,000 dives. He lived in Tortola in the British Virgin Islands, where he owned a dive shop called Baskin in the Sun. In July, Baskin learned of his illness and returned to his hometown in Miami-Dade County.

"He was known for his enthusiasm. In one of the messages, his friends talk about how every day he would get up and sing Oh What a Beautiful Morning at the top of his lungs," Roberta Baskin said. "He approached dying with the same spirit of adventure.

"Alan just really embraced the whole process as his next adventure. He promised to report back to me -- as soon as he learned what the rules are and how to break them."

In addition to his daughter Roberta Baskin, of Washington, D.C., Baskin is survived by his wife Eva of Miami, sister Bonnie Liberman of Boynton Beach, sons Michael Baskin of Maui and Christopher Baskin of Los Angeles, daughters Robin Baskin of Asheville, N.C., and Lisa Baskin of Los Angeles.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

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