Longtime New York Post real estate columnist Braden Keil died last night, after a battle with melanoma. He worked up until the very end, with his wife helping him write his last column.

In 2007, Keil wrote in the Post about his skin cancer. He told of finally going in to have a mole checked out, and getting the bad news:

When I returned to have the bandages changed the next day, he came into the room with a solemn expression and said the chilling words that no one is ever quite prepared to hear: "The test was positive for a malignancy.

"We have to consider the possibility that the cancer has spread," explained Lefkovits. "I want to make sure you make it to your kids' weddings."

My children are 1 and 3 years old. Suddenly I had doubts I'd see them enter grade school.

Keil's most famous Gawker moment was his momentary feud with Mario Batali. No obituaries of him have run yet, but it's a fair bet his life will be celebrated at length. In 2000 he started chronicling the more interesting New York real estate stories for the Post in his "Gimme Shelter" column, which mixed gossip and gawking at the rich; one person said, with admiration, "no one at the Post was as Great Gatsby as he truly was."

[Pic of the Keils via NY Social Diary]