A beloved Bay Area musician died Wednesday as he pursued somebody who snatched the laptop that had all his music on it. Dave Deporis, 40, chased the person who stole his laptop from a cafe in Oakland in the middle of the day and ended up being run over by their vehicle, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Witnesses say Deporis grabbed the side of the thief's red Audi SUV and was dragged before he slipped under the wheels. Friends say the laptop held all Deporis' music, including an unfinished new album. "His friends and his music are everything to him, and that's probably why he was as gung-ho about getting his computer back as he was," friend Chris Vogel says. No arrests have been made.
Deporis, a singer-songwriter, had an unconventional style that associates likened to an experimental Bob Dylan. " The saddest news... I'm so sorry to hear it..." tweeted singer Regina Spektor. "Rest In Peace." Deporis "was a person who had both enormous musical facility, and a rare and generous empathy—empathy being the tool by which only a great artist is able to touch the soul," writes singer-songwriter Peter Himmelman in a moving tribute at Forbes, recalling record companies' efforts to get him to persuade Deporis to record more. His music deserved to be widely heard, but "there was no way I was going pressure him to do something that he didn't want to do," Himmelman writes. (Read more Oakland stories.)