Rick Bonnell, award-winning sportswriter for the Charlotte Observer, gone at age 63:Covered Charlotte Hornets since 1988

Rick Bonnell, an award-winning sportswriter for more than 33 years at The Charlotte Observer, was found dead in his home Tuesday. He was 63.

Bonnell was The Observer’s first beat reporter to cover the Charlotte Hornets during their inaugural season in 1988-89, and he was still breaking stories on the Hornets beat throughout this past season.

Jack Bonnell, Rick’s son, confirmed his father’s death Tuesday night and added that police had told him that there was no reason to suspect foul play.

Rick Bonnell’s cause of death hadn’t been immediately determined, his son said, but was believed to be natural causes. Bonnell was found, unresponsive, by a friend at about 7 p.m. Tuesday in his Charlotte home.

CLICK HERE to read more from Scott Fowler, at the Charlotte Observer…