Melissa has a fine summary of the sad event here:
The great blogger Jon Swift, who, in addition to writing his own amazing blog, was a contributor to Shakesville and my colleague at newcritics, and whose real name was Al Weisel, has died.
I found out via our mutual friend Tom Watson, who reports that Al's mother posted a comment to the Jon Swift blog sharing the circumstances of his death:
I don't know how else to tell you all who love this blog. I am Jon Swift's Mom and I guess I'm going to OUT him. He was Al Weisel, my beloved son. Al was on his way to his father's funeral in VA when he suffered 2 aortic aneurysms, a leaky aortic valve and an aortic artery dissection from his heart to his pelvis. He had 3 major surgeries within 24 hours and sometime during those surgeries also suffered a severe stroke. We, his 2 sisters, his brother, his partner and his best friend since he was 9 years old were with him as he took his last breath. We have all lost a shining start who warmed our hearts, tormented us and made us laugh as he giggled at our pulling something over on us. He passed away on February 27, 2010. My beloved child will live on in so many hearts. I miss him more than I can say. If you are on Facebook, go to organizations and join "Friends of Al Weisel, Unite!" It will give you just a taste of how special he was. Farewell, Jon (Al)...
And I leaned on his shoulder;
'O Johnny, let's play':
But he frowned like thunder
And he went away.
-- W. H. Auden