ESPN announced on Wednesday morning that John Saunders, one of the network’s most respected and long-serving voices, passed away at the age of 61.

Saunders worked for ESPN since 1986, and was the face of ABC’s college football coverage. He also did play by play for college basketball, and was a host for the network’s NHL and MLB coverage, among a plethora of other assignments. Saunders had also hosted The Sports Reporters since 2001.

ESPN President John Skipper released a statement following Saunders’ passing.

“John was an extraordinary talent and his friendly, informative style has been a warm welcome to sports fans for decades. 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 had just spoken last week at the National Association of Black Journalists convention in Washington, D.C. He’s survived by his wife and two daughters.

About Joe Lucia

I hate your favorite team. I also sort of hate most of my favorite teams.

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