The 63-year-old Bates was a lifelong Seattle-area resident and worked for The Times for more than 20 years.
Diagnosed in 1996 with non-Hodgkins lymphoma, he died Sunday.
The Times quotes his wife, Annette, as saying his struggles with the disease heightened his appreciation of life and those around him.
Times Photo Editor Angela Gottschalk says Bates "loved his job, his photo subjects and his fellow journalists."
A self-portrait Bates posted on his Facebook page showed him smiling, outdoors and working on a big story -- the Washington Huskies at the Rose Bowl in 2001.
His first photo job was at The Daily World in Aberdeen, and he worked at several other newspapers before being hired by The Times.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by three sons, a daughter and eight grandchildren.
Information from: The Seattle Times, http://www.seattletimes.com
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