I am so sad to hear this. We all act like our online "friends" are not "real" or as important as our real life friends, but I disagree. People in real life can put up as much of a fake identity as someone online - and even carry it on for years, just like online.
The death of a person that I know in real life, but seldom had contact with didn't affect me as much as when I'd read the announcement that Frontline posted over at wordforge.
My condolences to his family.