John Saunders, the talented sports journalist who worked at ESPN for over 30 years, died Wednesday.

Saunders was known for his versatility, covering college football, basketball, and hockey. The ESPN vet joined the station in 1986, hosting SportsCenter, but his role blossomed when he went on to cover WNBA games and Stanley Cup playoffs.

ESPN’s president, John Skipper, acknowledged the loss yesterday in a statement:

John was an extraordinary talent and his friendly, informative style has been a warm welcome to sports fans for decades. 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.”

SportsCenter anchor and colleague, Hannah Storm, delivered the heartbreaking news live on-air:

His & Hers hosts Michael Smith and Jemele Hill also became emotional when discussing the loss of their friend:

He is survived by his wife, Wanda, and two daughters, Aleah and Jenna.

The cause of his death has yet to be determined at this time.



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