USA TODAY trending editor Dustin Barnes dead at 38

Dustin Barnes

Dustin Barnes, a Mississippi-raised journalist who became a USA TODAY trending editor known for his professional acumen and irrepressible joy, was found dead Wednesday at his home in Nashville, Tennessee. He was 38.

Barnes had been recovering from a heart attack and was discovered by co-workers who went to check on him, according to his mother, Sheila Barnes. She said both the heart attack and death were unexpected.

Current and former co-workers from Mississippi and Tennessee to USA TODAY grieving his death Wednesday said Barnes was a razor-sharp editor and a life-affirming force of humor and positivity.

“Dustin made an immediate impact at The Tennessean, not only as a skilled journalist but one of those people who lights up every room they step into,” said Michael Anastasi, The Tennessean’s top editor. “His effervescence made every team he was a member of that much better, and fun. His passion to serve his community, and to be an extraordinary teammate, was evident every day. ”