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ESPN anchor Stuart Scott passes away due to cancer

MUMBAI: ESPN sports journalist and SportsCenter anchor Stuart Scott passed away yesterday at the age of 49 after losing his battle with cancer.

Known for his enthusiasm, Scott was diagnosed in 2007 but continued to work in between chemotherapy treatments and surgery.

ESPN president John Skipper said in a statement that Scott was “a true friend and a uniquely inspirational figure” and that 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.”

Born in Chicago, Scott attended high school in North Carolina. After graduating from the University of North Carolina in 1987, he worked at three TV stations in southern US before joining ESPN for the 1993 launch of its ESPN2 network.

On ESPN, Scott anchored the 11 pm telecast of SportsCenter, and most recently was paired with his longtime partner Steve Levy on the show’s new set.

In addition to hosting SportsCenter, Scott covered numerous events and specials over his 21-year career with ESPN and ABC Sports. His most famous catchphrases “Booyah!” and “As cool as the other side of the pillow” became very popular.

From 2007-11, Scott hosted ABC Sports’ weekly ‘NBA Sunday’ studio show as well as ESPN’s NBA show, and served as a host during the NBA Finals Trophy presentation each year. Scott also hosted numerous ESPN and ABC series and specials, including ‘Dream Job’, ‘Stump the Schwab’, ESPN’s 25th Anniversary Special and ‘The ESPY Red Carpet Show’.

Scott went on to cover major events for the network including the Super Bowl, NBA finals, World Series and NCAA Tournament. He also interviewed President Barack Obama, joining him for a televised game of one-on-one. In 2001, Scott returned to Chapel Hill as the university’s commencement speaker.

In remembrance of Scott, the White House issued the following statement from President Obama. It stated, “I will miss Stuart Scott. Twenty years ago, Stu helped usher in a new way to talk about our favourite teams and the day’s best plays. For much of those 20 years, public service and campaigns have kept me from my family, but wherever I went, I could flip on the TV and Stu and his colleagues on ‘SportsCenter’ were there. Over the years, he entertained us, and in the end, he inspired us with courage and love.”

After being diagnosed with cancer in November 2007, he had to leave the ‘Monday Night Football’ game between Miami and Pittsburgh to have his appendix removed. Doctors discovered a tumor during surgery. He underwent chemotherapy again in 2011.

Inspite of the various medical treatments, Scott made a point of continuing to live his life at work and outside of it.

“Who engages in mixed martial arts training in the midst of chemotherapy treatments? Who leaves a hospital procedure to return to the set?” said Skipper.

Scott is survived by his parents, O Ray and Jacqueline Scott; siblings Stephen Scott, Synthia Kearney and Susan Scott; his daughters Taelor 19, and Sydni 15; and girlfriend Kristin Spodobalski.

At the ESPY Awards in July 2014, Scott was presented with the Jimmy V Perseverance Award, named after college basketball coach and ESPN sportscaster Jim Valvano (who died of cancer in 1993). At his acceptance speech Scott said, “When you die, that does not mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and the manner in which you live. So live. Live. Fight like hell.”