Longtime ESPN anchor Stuart Scott died Sunday morning after a long battle with cancer, although it is unclear what type of cancer he had or what stage he was in.
Back in 2007, potentially cancerous cells were found in Scott during an emergency apendectomy. He battled that cancer facing successes against the disease, but also setbacks. The disease proved impossible to shake Sunday morning. Scott was just 49 years old.
ESPN first confirmed the news on Twitter,
We are heartbroken to report that Stuart Scott has died after a long fight with cancer. He was 49. pic.twitter.com/aI0TGwFqGU
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 4, 2015
Beloved by millions for making ESPN’s signature show “SportsCenter” a national phenomenon, Scott, who graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1987, got his start at local stations in Orlando, Florida; Raleigh, North Carolina and Florence, South Carolina.
He joined ESPN for the launch of ESPN2 in 1993 and over the past 22 years has been a staple on the network working on a number of ESPN shows, his now infamous “This is SportsCenter” commercials and covering virtually every major sporting event in the world from the World Series to the Super Bowl.
He interviewed, knew and befriended so many famous athletes like Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Wayne Gretzky and Lebron James. James took to his Instagram account to express his grief.
Can’t believe you’re gone from us! I am deeply saddened because not only will not be replaced as a anchor or reporter but more than that as a genuine cool person. What u did for our culture, bringing that Swag to reporting can only be copied(which I hear it today on tv watching sports). I would say not because they stealing your swag, it’s all out of RESPECT! It was always a breath of fresh fun air when u would show up and we’d chat up. Thank you so much for being u and giving us inner city kids someone we could relate to that wasn’t a player but was close enough to them. #RIPStuartScott #FuqCancer #GoneButSurelyNotForgotten
Scott also knew and was admired by celebrities, newsmakers and politicians. Scott conducted a one-on-on interview with President Bill Clinton and twice Scott interviewed President Barack Obama. He even played an on-air one-on-one basketball with the President who also issued a statement about Scott saying,
“I will miss Stuart Scott. Twenty years ago, Stu helped usher in a new way to talk about our favorite teams and the day’s best plays. For much of those twenty years, public service and campaigns have kept me from my family — but wherever I went, I could flip on the TV and Stu and his colleagues on SportsCenter were there. Over the years, he entertained us, and in the end, he inspired us — with courage and love. Michelle and I offer our thoughts and prayers to his family, friends, and colleagues.”
For many Scott changed the way sports were covered, appealing to a younger demographic with his, as James put it, “Swag.” He will always be remembered for his catch phrases like “Boo-Yah!” and “as cool as the other side of the pillow.” Appealing to a younger demographic Scott also paved the way for other young African Americans in sports. Of course, he wasn’t the first to African American sports anchor but his likable nature and rise to fame were unprecendented. Making friends everywhere he went, he will be missed most by his colleagues all of whom have issued statements, via the press or on Twitter, of their loss and grief.
“ESPN and everyone in the sports world have lost a true friend and a uniquely inspirational figure in Stuart Scott,” said ESPN president John Skipper. “Who engages in mixed martial arts training in the midst of chemotherapy treatments? Who leaves a hospital procedure to return to the set? His energetic and unwavering devotion to his family and to his work while fighting the battle of his life left us in awe, and he leaves a void that can never be replaced.”
I can’t believe he is gone. There was nobody like Stuart Scott, There will never be again. A big presence with even a bigger heart. RIP SS. — Linda Cohn (@lindacohn) January 4, 2015
Chris Berman reflects on his respect for long-time colleague Stuart Scott’s talent, career and life » http://t.co/S3aV7OFxal
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) January 4, 2015
Words cannot express the grief. #RIPStuartScott
— Rich Eisen (@richeisen) January 4, 2015
“When you die, it does not mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and in the manner in which you live.”
Scott is survived by his two daughters, Taelor, 19, and Sydni, 15; who were the loves of his life, many said. He is survived also by his parents, O. Ray and Jacqueline Scott; and his three siblings Stephen Scott, Synthia Kearney, Susan Scott, their families and his girlfriend, Kristin Spodobalski. Although the two never wed, Spodobalski stood by Scott as he went through rounds of radiation, chemotherapy and multiple surgeries.
Stuart Scott will be greatly missed by – well – everyone. His friends, family, colleagues and very much so by his viewers even though we never met him.
So many of us who grew up watching him blaze a trail throughout the sports world that will never be forgotten.