by BREANA BACON
SportsCenter anchor and sports broadcaster Stuart Scott died this morning after a seven-year battle with cancer. He was 49.
Many in the field of sports journalism as well as athletes banded together this morning to pay tribute to the 22-year ESPN veteran, including Robin Roberts, a close friend of Scott’s and another whose life was affected by cancer. Roberts narrated a video that went viral on social media this morning:
Born in Chicago, but raised in North Carolina, Scott attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where he pledged into the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and got his start in journalism working at a student radio station, WXYC. From there, his talent took Scott all over the country eventually landing him at ESPN studios in Bristol. The executives at ESPN brought Scott on board to appeal to a younger audience. Scott expanded on the opportunity, also hosting a number of NFL shows and even a game show entitled Stump the Schwab.
His most notable work also includes hosting the NBA Finals. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban tweeted that “the only interview that mattered was the Stuart Scott interview on the last day of the NBA season.”
Stuart Scott was known for bringing a hip hop feel to sports talk and added unseen personality to ESPN that was unheard of in the early 90s. His catch phrases such as the widely known “Boo-yah!” were some of the key features in Scott’s career remembered by all who watched and worked with him.
Scott interviewed several sports stars including Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and Tiger Woods, who all shared on social media their grief for the loss of the longtime anchor.
President Barack Obama released a statement earlier expressing his sympathy to Scott’s family and sadness for the loss of a dear friend.
“I will miss Stuart Scott. Twenty years ago, Stu helped usher in a new way to talk about our favorite teams and the day’s best plays. For much of those twenty 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. Michelle and I offer our thoughts and prayers to his family, friends, and colleagues.”
Scott was diagnosed with cancer after becoming ill at a Miami Dolphins-Pittsburgh Steelers game on November 26, 2007 resulting in an appendectomy. The surgery revealed that Scott required additional surgery to remove the cancerous tissue. He continued to broadcast while receiving chemotherapy and the cancer went into remission in 2010. Sadly, the cancer returned in 2012 then again in January 2013.
Stuart Scott’s work ethic and will to fight through his illness was vividly remembered by fellow journalists. He accepted the Jimmy V Perseverance Award at the 2014 ESPYs despite suffering from kidney failure and liver complications with humor and words of determination.
“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.”
The sports personality, known for personifying his catch phrase “cool as the other side of the pillow,” leaves behind two teen daughters, Taelor, 19 and Sydni, 15, who he was thoroughly devoted to, as well as his ex-wife Kimberly, and girlfriend Kristin Spodobalski.