Robert Armstrong, a Star Tribune sports desk editor for over 40 years, has died at the age of 79. "Bud," who had survived — and thrived — after two heart attacks, was hospitalized last month because of a lung illness and passed away Monday with family members by his side.

Armstrong was a beloved night editor for decades at the Star Tribune, a character and a champion of sports that didn't often make the front page.

"I think every sports department should have someone who enjoys sports out of the mainstream," Bud told columnist Patrick Reusse upon his retirement in 2009. In a journalism career that spanned a half-century, Armstrong was a reporter and a department leader, but he spent the bulk of his career battling deadlines on the copy desk.

"There's never been a night in 43 years that we didn't have some laughs," Armstrong said in 2009. "Without those, I probably would've been gone years ago."

Armstrong is survived by his wife, Ann Chevalier, his children Bobby, Dennis, Robyn and Andrew. Memorial service information is pending.

Star Tribune sports staff