ESPN's John Saunders dead at 61

ESPN host and anchor John Saunders died at age 61, ESPN reported. 

Saunders served a number of different roles for ESPN throughout his career. He was an anchor for SportsCenter and the host of The Sports Reporters. 

ESPN anchor Hannah Storm reported the news live for ESPN on Wednesday morning. 

The Canadian covered college football, basketball and NHL for ESPN and was one of the most familiar faces for ESPN viewers. He started with ESPN in 1986.

Prior to his time with the network, Saunders worked for Baltimore's WMAR-TV as sports director in the early 1980s.

ESPN issued the following statement for a story on its website. 

"John was an extraordinary talent and his friendly, informative style has been a warm welcome to sports fans for decades," John Skipper, president of ESPN and co-chairman of Disney Media Networks, said in a statement. "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."

 

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