MIAMI (AP) _ Leo Suarez, deputy sports editor of The Miami Herald, died Thursday night of a heart attack. He was 37.

Suarez died at Baptist Hospital in the Miami suburb of Kendall.

Suarez was known as a passionate editor who prodded sports writers to get their stories right the first time, get them finished on time and do them better the next time.

``At such a young age, he had empowered so many young journalists, so may people around him,'' said Herald columnist Liz Balmaseda. ``Leo's strength as a journalist is that he could touch and light up other people.''

Suarez began his career as a sports clerk at the now-defunct Miami News. He worked there for 12 years and at The Palm Beach Post for three before joining The Herald in 1992. His wife, Ana Veciana-Suarez, is a feature writer and columnist for The Herald.

Colleagues remembered his quick ascent in the world of South Florida sports and his devotion to it.

``It was incredible when Leo became the Dolphin writer. No one could believe it,'' said Manny Garcia, a Herald courthouse reporter and high school friend. ``The Cuban kid from Little Havana who played quarterback and threw a pretty decent spiral was now covering the Miami Dolphins. It was pretty amazing.''

In addition to his wife, Suarez is survived by five children and his mother.