Longtime ESPN sportscaster Stuart Scott, known for catchphrases that became part of the lexicon of sports, has died of cancer, the network said Sunday. He was 49.
After first being diagnosed with cancer in November 2007 after an emergency appendectomy, Scott fought through three bouts of cancer, the network said.
“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 in a statement.
During more than two decades with the network, Scott anchored ESPN’s “SportsCenter,” a sports news program, where he introduced such catchphrases as “boo-ya” and “as cool as the other side of the pillow.”
“Twenty years ago, Stu helped usher in a new way to talk about our favorite teams and the day’s best plays,” said President Barack Obama in a statement. “Over the years, he entertained us, and in the end, he inspired us — with courage and love.”
He also helped cover major sporting events such as the NBA Finals, the Super Bowl and the World Series and interviewed major sports figures, celebrities and politicians.
Scott graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1987 with a bachelor of arts degree. He worked at television stations in North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida before joining ESPN in 1993.
Scott was diagnosed with cancer in November 2007 after an emergency appendectomy revealed a malignancy, according to ESPN. In 2011, Scott was diagnosed with cancer and entered remission in 2012. A year later, he was again diagnosed with cancer, the network said.
At the 2014 ESPY Awards in July, Kiefer Sutherland presented Scott with the Jimmy V Perseverance Award, in honor of late North Carolina State coach Jim Valvano, who passed away from complications of cancer in 1993. Stuart was widely praised for his impassioned, emotional speech on his seven-year battle with the disease. USA Today described it as his finest moment on television.
“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,” he said during his acceptance speech.
“He was, is and always will be an inspiration, ” Sutherland wrote on his Twitter account. “My thoughts are with his family.”
Michael Jordan, the 1984 National Player of the Year at North Carolina, released a statement on Sunday through his publicist.
“I’m so sad to hear the news that Stuart has passed away. He was truly a trailblazer in his field, and by refusing to change his style, made himself into a star,” Jordan said in the statement. “I always enjoyed sitting down to talk to him. But to me, he wasn’t just a broadcaster, he was an old friend, who I’d known since college. He fought so hard against cancer and I hoped he’d win the battle. I send my sincerest condolences to his daughters, Taelor and Sydni, and his family and friends. Boo-yah, my brother.”
Recording artists Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne and Chuck D also offered condolences to Scott’s family.
“Stu Scott’s passing hit me like a ton of bricks, ” Chuck D wrote on his Twitter account. “Rest in Peace, bro, you pioneered that coolest side of that sportscasting pillow.”