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Photographer Dave Martin, chronicler of triumph and tragedy in the South, collapses, dies covering football game

John Bazemore / AP

Photographer Dave Martin, center, works during an NFL football game between the Carolina Panthers and the Atlanta Falcons, in Atlanta on Dec. 29, 2013. Martin, 59, died after collapsing on the Georgia Dome field two days later.

A longtime Associated Press photographer who documented nearly every major tragedy and triumph in the South over the past 30 years, died Tuesday night at a college bowl game.

David Martin ran onto the field after Texas A&M's 52-48 win over Duke at the Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta and took photos of Aggies coach Kevin Sumlin being doused with a water bucket. He collapsed on the field and died of an apparent heart attack.

Alabama's governor was among those lauding Martin.

Gov. Robert Bentley issued a statement on Wednesday describing Martin as one of the best news photographers he's ever worked with. Martin traveled with the governor in 2011 to document a deadly tornado outbreak in Alabama.

Bentley said that Martin "told the story of the storm's devastation in some of the best photos I have seen." 

-- The Associated Press

Dave Martin / AP

Aug. 30, 1985: Mark Bailey holds his fiance Belinda Mammack as they relax in an emergency shelter at Theodore High School, Ala. The couple had planned a nice church wedding on the weekend that Hurricane Elena was due to make landfall, forcing them to take shelter.

Dave Martin / AP

Nov. 15, 1990: U.S. Army Pfc. Terrell Crable, foreground right, and Pfc. Anthony Perocchi of Dresden, Tenn., on guard duty in a foxhole during change-of-command ceremonies for the 18th Airborne Corps Artillery in Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Shield. Bedouin businessman Hamed Fahadas, background, leads another Bedouin riding a camel to the ceremony.

Dave Martin / AP

Aug. 29, 2005: Arnold James tries to keep his feet as he tries to make his way on foot to the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans. The roof on James's home blew off due to Hurricane Katrina.

Dave Martin / AP

Aug. 31, 2005: Sheila Dixon weeps as she clutches her 18-month-old daughter Emily on the side of Interstate-10 after being airlifted out of flood besieged New Orleans. Dixon wept uncontrollably, saying that everything she had was lost and she had no idea where she was being taken.

Dave Martin / AP

Sept. 4, 2005: A makeshift tomb at a New Orleans street corner conceals a body that had been lying on the sidewalk for days in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Dave Martin / AP

June 16, 2010: Oil is burned on the surface of the Gulf of Mexico a few miles from the site of the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

Dave Martin / AP

April 30, 2011: Daniel Mulder hugs his wife Rachael near their destroyed home in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Mulder and his wife survived the tornado hiding in a tub before coming to the assistance of their neighbors.

Dave Martin / AP

April 7, 2013: California guard Layshia Clarendon looks at the ball as Louisville forward Sara Hammond shoots in the second half of a national semifinal at the Women's Final Four of the NCAA college basketball tournament in New Orleans.

Dave Martin / AP

Dec. 31, 2013: One of the last photographs taken by Dave Martin shows Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin as he is dunked in the closing seconds of a 52-48 win over Duke in the the Chick-fil-A Bowl NCAA college football game in Atlanta.