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Vale Mike King

We lost a true Fool yesterday.

Our beloved friend and colleague, Mike King, passed away after a courageous, year-long battle with cancer. He leaves behind a partner, Chantal, and daughter, Dominique, as well as family, friends and colleagues who were blessed to know him.

Most of you wouldn’t have met Mike. Many of you may not immediately recall his name. But Mike was the third Fool to join Bruce Jackson and I at our fledgling Australian operation back in 2011.

He was keen as mustard from the start. Jaded by the traditional finance industry, and enthused about what The Motley Fool could do for Australian investors, he took to the task of writing about investing with gusto. He started with us as a freelance writer, then jumped at the chance to become a full-time Fool.

He railed against the conflicts of the big banks. He called out the dodgy practices of small listed companies. And he was on the front lines of the battles against the federal government’s rollback of investor protections when the so-called FoFA rules were in danger of being watered down.

And he wrote. And wrote. And wrote. Mike published almost 2,800 articles on fool.com.au, Ninemsn, Yahoo!7 and in the Fairfax press. He also appeared on the ABC.

He was always and ever on the lookout for ways to help everyday investors like you and me.

Of course, to his friends and family, Mike was a lot more than an investor and writer. He was warm and caring. Understated to a fault, despite his 6’7” frame. He was the first to lend a hand, and nothing was too much trouble. He was unassuming, funny, loyal and strong.

I have never heard anyone say a bad word about Mike — he was the sort of bloke everyone wanted as a friend, and wanted to have a beer with. Though, for some strange reason, Mike preferred cider. God only knows why. He’d be disappointed if I didn’t take one last jibe at him about that.

At work, while Mike was known as Kinga, I preferred to call him VoD or Radar. VoD was the Voice of Doom — Mike, like Radar O’Reilly in MASH (hence the ‘Radar’ name) seemed to always be the first person to notice when one of our companies released bad news… which was inevitably followed by a fall in the share price. The Voice of Doom, indeed.

I joked to him that at least when he was off work, crook, I didn’t have to worry about bad news. When he was well again, the bad news would start up. No, he wasn’t responsible for it — and it was no more likely whether he was around or not, but he seemed to enjoy the joke… and the reputation.

Now, I’d give anything for him to bring us some bad news. But, of course, he won’t.

Mike fought his battle with his typical optimism. To talk to him, you wouldn’t know he was crook. He’d never mention it, unless he was giving us an update on his treatment, and even then he was overwhelmingly positive. Maybe it was for our sakes. Maybe for his. But in all probability, just because that’s how — and who — Mike was.

Our lives — my life — was enriched for knowing Mike. We are better people for knowing him, and The Motley Fool is a better company for having had him work here.

I hope you all get the chance to know a Mike King in your own lives.

Mike would be dismissive of this fuss, of course. He’d appreciate it, but he’d be embarrassed by it. He’d say he wasn’t perfect. That he was just doing his job.

They’re both true. But he’s eminently deserving of this recognition and remembrance.

Knowing Mike, I have a sneaking suspicion he’d say if you want to remember him, go and tell someone about the power of investing. The potential that it can bring. Even if it’s just buying an index fund. Just do it. Just get started.

He was that sort of bloke.

Go well, Kinga. We love you mate.