Monday, 5 January 2015

Stuart Scott Dies: ESPN Anchor Was 49, Battled Cancer

Popular ESPN anchor Stuart Scott has died at age 49 following a long battle with cancer.

The Chicago-born sports personality passed away on Sunday morning, the cable channel announced.

Scott is survived by his parents, a brother and two sisters, girlfriend Kristin Spodobalski, ex-wife Kim Scott and daughters Taelor, 19, and Sydni, 15.

"The best thing I have ever done, the best thing I will ever do, is be a dad to Taelor and Sydni," he said last July at the 2014 ESPYS, where he was given the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance. "I can't ever give up because I can't leave my daughters."

"Taelor and Sydni, I love you guys more than I will ever be able to express," he said. "You two are my heartbeat. I am standing on this stage here tonight because of you."

He was mourned publicly by former SportsCenter co-anchor Rich Eisen, who gave him a tearful tribute on the NFL Network's Game Day, a slew of Hollywood celebs and President Barack Obama, who Scott had interviewed.

"I will miss Stuart Scott," the U.S. leader said in a statement provided by the White House. "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 20 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," he said.

ESPN said in a statement that Scott "inspired his colleagues with his sheer talent, his work ethic and his devotion to his daughters."

Scott was born in Chicago and grew up in North Carolina with two sisters and a brother, ESPN said. In 1987, he obtained a bachelor's degree in speech communication from the University of North Carolina, where he played football, was a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity and worked at the college radio station, ESPN said.

He joined the sports channel in 1993 to help launch of ESPN2 and later became an anchor on ESPN's flagship sports news program SportsCenter, where became known for catchphrases such as "Boo-Yah!" and "As cool as the other side of the pillow."

"He was Stu to everybody in the halls," ESPN quoted anchor John Anderson as saying. "But Stuart on the air. I found him to be one of the few people in this business who is actually much nicer off TV than he is on. He was just one of the first guys to say, 'Hey, I'm going to play golf, wanna come with me?'"

Scott was first diagnosed with cancer in 2007, when his appendix was removed. It returned four years later. He never revealed what type of cancer he had battled.

At the ESPYS, he met with GMA anchor and former ESPN personality Robin Roberts, also a cancer survivor.

On stage, he had said in his speech that he had recently spent a week in the hospital battling liver and kidney complications stemming from his cancer and paid tribute to his loved ones who stood by him.

"Every day I am reminded that our life's journey is really about the people who touch us...When you die, that 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," he had said at the ESPYs, drawing thunderous applause.

"So live," he continued. "Live. fight like hell and when you get too tired to fight, then lay down and rest and let somebody else fight for you."

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