After a long battle with cancer, longtime ESPN anchor Stuart Scott died Sunday, the sports cable station reported. He was 49.
Scott joined ESPN in 1993 for the launch of ESPN2, quickly moving up the ranks as one of the network's main SportsCenter anchors thanks to his rapid-fire delivery and unique phrasing to describe highlights, according to USA Today. While Scott might not have invented the term "Boo-yah," he certainly popularized it, the report notes.
"ESPN and everyone in the sports world have lost a true friend and a uniquely inspirational figure in Stuart Scott," said ESPN President John Skipper. "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," Skipper continued.
He inspired his colleagues with his sheer talent, his work ethic and his devotion to his daughters, Taelor, 19, and Sydni, 15. He defied convention and criticism to help bring this network into a new century. He spoke to the very athletes he was talking about with a flair and a style that, Skipper says, "changed everything."
Scott had scores of fans and admirers, including President Barack Obama, who issued a statement Sunday.
"I will miss Stuart Scott," the president said. "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 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. Michelle and I offer our thoughts and prayers to his family, friends and colleagues."
Diagnosed with cancer in 2011, Scott gave an impassioned speech at the 2014 ESPY Awards after being honored with the Jimmy V Perseverance Award. He said in the speech that he'd had four surgeries in seven days in the week before his appearance, when he was suffering from liver complications and kidney failure.
"To be honored with this," he said, “I know I have a responsibility to never give up. … I'm not special; I just listened to what the man said. … When you die, it does not mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, while you live and the manner in which you live."
Also on The Root: "Stuart Scott Spoke the Language of My Generation"