Longtime ESPN announcer John Saunders has died at age 61, the network reported Wednesday. He worked at the network for nearly 30 years.
Saunders covered college football, basketball and the NHL for the network, in addition to anchoring SportsCenter. He was also host of The Sports Reporters.
Saunders was a founding member of The V Foundation for Cancer Research and served on the board of directors, ESPN reported on its website.
The network did not give a cause of death.
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“John was an extraordinary talent and his friendly, informative style has been a warm welcome to sports fans for decades,” said John Skipper, president of ESPN and co-chairman of Disney Media Networks, 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.”
Saunders joined ESPN in December 1986 to anchor SportsCenter. But he became a voice on college basketball and the WNBA and hosted ESPN's coverage of the Stanley Cup playoffs from 1993 to 2004. He also worked on coverage of the World Series and Major League Baseball All-Star Game, the network reported.
Saunders is survived by his wife, Wanda, and daughters Aleah and Jenna.