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Penn Law professor C. Edwin Baker died Tuesday in New York City, according to a press release on Penn Law’s web site. He was 62.

According to the release, Baker died while exercising. The cause of death is not yet known, said Jeanne Leong, a spokeswoman for the Law School.

Baker, the Nicholas F. Gallicchio Professor of Law and Communication, was an expert on the First Amendment and on mass media policy.

He has also been a professor in the Annenberg School for Communication since 2007.

Law School Dean Michael Fitts called Baker a “major scholar,” praising Baker’s work on the First Amendment as “a distinctive but powerful view.”

Baker joined the Penn faculty in 1981, according to his profile on the Law School web site.

Fitts remembered arriving at Penn as a young professor and noting Baker’s friendly, welcoming nature.

“Ed was a very gentle human being,” Fitts said, despite his “very strong academic and political views.”

“He loved the underdog,” Fitts added. “He was very supportive of people who were in a precarious position.”

Baker’s popularity wasn’t just constrained to Penn Law, Fitts said, as he took a number of sabbaticals during his time as a professor. Most recently, Baker taught at the New York University School of Law in 2001, according to the Penn Law web site.

He also served as a staff lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union in New York from 1987 to 1989.

There will be a memorial service for Baker Jan. 31, 2010, in New York City, according to the release.

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