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Jeff Dickerson, ESPN Chicago Bears Reporter, Dies at 44

”We will miss his smile, his love for his family & his love for all the fans of Chicago,“ colleagues at ESPN 1000 said in a statement

Jeff Dickerson, a reporter who covered the Chicago Bears for ESPN for the last two decades, has died. He was 44.

Dickerson died Tuesday from complications of colon cancer, and according to ESPN, died at the same hospice facility that his wife Caitlin died at two years earlier after suffering from melanoma. He had been placed in the hospice facility last week.

“Our hearts ache as we share that our teammate & friend, Jeff Dickerson, has passed away. JD was an amazing son, husband, father & friend. We will miss his smile, his love for his family & his love for all the fans of Chicago. You will live in our hearts forever. We love you JD,” read a tweet from ESPN 1000 in Chicago (WMVP-AM), where he was a frequent on-air radio guest.

Dickerson was a graduate of Buffalo Grove High School in the Chicago suburbs and started his career as a summer intern for another Chicago sports radio station, The Score, and was then offered a job as a producer at the station after graduating from the University of Illinois.

In 2001, he joined ESPNChicago.com and covered the Bears, as well as Loyola basketball, and he would additionally serve as a broadcaster alongside Jonathan Hood on the radio and contribute to reports on Chicago’s local ABC affiliate. He would eventually cover the Bears full time and on Tuesday won praise from the team as a “consummate professional.”

“JD took a great deal of pride in his coverage of the Bears for 20 years,” the Chicago Bears said in a statement via ESPN. “He was a true professional and even better person. JD always was one of the first media members to arrive in the press box on game day, with a hello and a smile that could brighten anyone’s day. He was one of a kind and will truly be missed.”

A former Chicago Bears kicker now with the San Francisco 49ers, Robbie Gould, also co-hosted an ESPN 1000 show with Dickerson and in a statement said that the players appreciated his honesty and passion in writing about the team.

“As a player you can appreciate that the wisdom he put on paper was as neutral and correct as it ever was going to be. It was always going to be your words. It was always going to be what the story was. It was never going to be someone filling in the blanks,” Gould said in a statement via ESPN. “”Players definitely noticed. He always wrote a true story. He always wrote what was happening at the moment. He didn’t try to back the bus up over somebody. He tried to get it exactly how the story was.”

Dickerson is survived by his son Parker and his parents, George and Sandy Dickerson, and supporters can also donate to a GoFundMe established for Dickerson’s son Parker.