Earlier today on SportsCenter, Hannah Storm announced the passing of longtime ESPN anchor and "generous and talented and beloved colleague" John Saunders. He was 61. Saunders did a little bit of everything at ESPN over his 30 years, including hosting The Sports Reporters, serving as an anchor on Sportscenter, hosting studio shows for college football and basketball, as well as play-by-play duties. As Storm noted, his passing came as a shock. As far as we can tell, he was not known to be sick, and no cause of death has been released.
John Skipper, president of ESPN released the following statement, which Storm read on air:
"John was an extraordinary talent and his friendly, informative style has been a warm welcome to sports fans for decades," said John Skipper, president of ESPN and co-chairman of Disney Media Networks, in a statement. "His wide range of accomplishments across numerous sports and championship events is among the most impressive this industry has ever seen. More importantly, John was a beloved and devoted family man who cared deeply about people and causes, as evidenced by his long-standing efforts as a passionate board member for The V Foundation for Cancer Research.
"He was one of the most significant and influential members of the ESPN family, as a colleague and mentor, and he will be sorely missed. Our thoughts are with his loved ones at this extremely difficult time."
Saunders is survived by his wife and two daughters.