Silver Lake's “Walking Man” Found Dead

"He was really like this perpetual motion machine that you thought was always going to be there"

A man famous for walking through Silver Lake, Los Feliz, and Echo Park neighborhoods every day since the '80s was found dead Wednesday in a backyard hot tub.

The Los Angeles County Coroner identified the man as 58-year-old Marc Abrams. Dr. Abrams was also known as "Silver Lake Walkin’ Guy,” “The Reader Walker,” “Dr. Jogger” and “The Walking Man” who was found in a backyard pool Wednesday afternoon along Moreno Drive.

Abrams, who closed his medical practice last year, was a part of the eclectic fabric that makes up the landscape of communities that surround Silver Lake Reservoir near Downtown Los Angeles.  He could be seen every day rain or shine trekking through his neighborhoods, bare-chested and in tiny shorts.

Abrams was the subject of an LA Times audio slideshow that chronicled his daily routine. The retired doctor walked hunched over, usually reading a newspaper -- even at night.

"I read at night," he told the Times. "I take a small flashlight along with me. I get my newspapers read during my morning walk. At night, I read books and magazines. I subscribe to about 20 magazines a month."

He was a well-known fixture and upset neighbors told NBCLA Thursday night he will be sorely missed. 

"He was really like this perpetual motion machine that you thought was always going to be there," a resident told NBCLA.


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He walked with the kind of purpose that made you wonder if he ever stopped. But he did -- at least for one worker at a Silver Lake restaurant.

"I just thought that was really sweet for a man that doesn't even really stop to talk -- you have to walk with him -- to stop and tell a really tired waitress that she brightens up his day," the Local Restaurant server said.

LA Weekly caught up with him in April 2009:

"I do it to stay in shape," he says. "There’s nothing deeper about it. I just walk for the exercise, for the sun, to see my friends, to catch up, to get my newspapers read."

Originally from Philadelphia, Abrams says his family, many of whom were athletes, didn’t have money for a car when he was young so they walked everywhere. He attended medical school at Stanford, and was always very active. He opened his Valley Village family practice back in 1988, starting with zero and building it to what he estimates at about 17,000 patients today.

Abrams was so famous an artist made a mural depicting him doing his Silver Lake "Walking Man" thing with images of Old LA as the backdrop.  The mural can be viewed at  Local, 2943 West Sunset Blvd or by clicking here.

A pair of shoes and some flowers were placed in front of the mural Thursday. The artist, Nicky Gagliarducci, visited the site Thursday.

"He was like a ghost in the same way the city feels like a ghost," Gagliarducci told Curbed LA. "He seemed to always be there. You'd turn the corner, and be like, 'Woah, didn't I just see you down the block?'"

A coroner's spokesman told NBCLA an autopsy was scheduled for Thursday.

According to the LAPD, the case is being investigated as a potential suicide, the LA Times reported. The official cause of death is pending.

The Times reported that his wife, Cindy, found him dead in the hot tub.

Thanks to Eastsider11 for passing along this Facebook page. The memorial page was "Liked" by 60 people as of 8 a.m. By noon, that number was more than 450 as word spread of the Walking Man's death.

A few hours later, the Rename the Silver Lake Reservoir path "Marc Abrams Memorial Loop" page popped up.

A memorial walk is scheduled for noon, Sunday. Walkers will leave from 2100 West Silver Lake Drive, near the start of Abrams' route.

He outlined the route for Silver Lake News in 2004:

"I usually loop around the lake, and then go down West Silverlake to Rowena, and then Hyperion, and then Griffith Park Blvd. down Sunset, back down Silverlake to the reservoir, and then back and loop around the lake again. So it’s about 15 miles altogether."

He also told the newspaper he once walked into a gate -- too focused on his newspaper -- and always wore SPF 50 sunscreen.

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