Stuart Scott, a longtime anchor on ESPN’s flagship “SportsCenter” news show, has died at age 49 after battling cancer, the network said Sunday.
Scott, who joined the sports giant in 1993 for the launch of ESPN2, was diagnosed with cancer in November 2007 and dealt with recurring bouts of the disease.
“ESPN and everyone in the sports world have lost a true friend and a uniquely inspirational figure in Stuart Scott,” ESPN president John Skipper said in a statement. “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.”
Scott attended the University of North Carolina and was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.
After graduating in 1987, he worked as a reporter at WPDE-TV in Florence, South Carolina. Then he moved on to WRAL-TV in Raleigh, North Carolina, and later to WESH-TV in Orlando, Florida.
Once he joined ESPN, Scott quickly rose up the network’s ranks, winning over viewers for his quick-witted and ad-lib catch phrases “Boo-Yah!” and “as cool as the other side of the pillow.”
Scott’s first role at ESPN was anchoring “SportsSmash,” a short sportscast airing twice an hour on ESPN2’s “SportNight.” After Keith Olbermann moved over from “SportsNight” to ESPN’s flagship “SportsCenter,” Scott replaced him as anchor.
Last year, while still fighting cancer, Scott inspired many with a speech at ESPN’s ESPY Awards, where he received the Jimmy V Award: “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.
“He was like a ball of fire walking in the door,” ESPN senior vice president Mark Gross, a coordinating producer at the time, said. “I had never met anybody like Stuart Scott.”
Scott is survived by his two daughters, Taelor, 19, and Sydni, 15.