Longtime southern Illinois reporter Malkovich dies

BENTON, IL (AP) - Rebecca Jane "Becky" Malkovich, a longtime southern Illinois journalist whose newspapering family includes actor John Malkovich, has died.

Malkovich was 53 when she died Monday at St. Louis' Barnes-Jewish Hospital, five days after suffering a heart attack at her home in Benton, according to The (Carbondale) Southern Illinoisan, for which she had reported for nearly the past 11 years.

Malkovich became a household name throughout much of southern Illinois, covering everything from court matters to feature stories ranging from a local flower shop's closure to an 88-year-old skydiving veteran.

"Becky's colleagues at The Southern Illinoisan are heartsick over her untimely passing," said Gary Metro, the newspaper's editor. "I've worked with dozens of reporters in more than 30 years in the news business and never met a reporter or writer who was better than Becky. She was an inquisitive and determined reporter and a gifted wordsmith."

John Pfeifer, the newspaper's publisher, called her "a great storyteller ... She'll be missed by all of us at The Southern Illinoisan; we'll be weaker without her."

Born on April 25, 1961, Malkovich graduated in 1979 from Benton schools and received a journalism degree from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. She spent nine years reporting for her family-owned Benton Evening News and later joined the Southern Illinoisan's staff in late 2003.

Survivors also include two sons and a sister.

Graveside services will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Masonic and Odd Fellows Cemetery in Benton. A memorial service will be held at a later date.

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