Longtime Fox NASCAR announcer Steve Byrnes, who has been suffering from head and neck cancer since 2013, died Tuesday. He was 56.
The Byrnes family made the announcement via a statement Fox Sports released.
"In addition to being a wonderful, loving and Godly husband, father, son and brother, Steve was an excellent friend, colleague and mentor to all who knew and loved him," the statement read in part.
Jeff Gluck of USA Today shared a comment from President Obama, who described Byrnes as a "legendary reporter and broadcaster."
"I know a lot of fans' thoughts and prayers today are with his wife, Karen, and his son, Bryson," Obama said.
NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France also provided a statement, via Gluck.
"His level of professionalism was matched only by the warmth he showed everyone he met," France said. "He battled cancer with tenacity, and was a true inspiration to everyone in the NASCAR family. Simply stated, we'll miss Steve dearly."
Byrnes was first diagnosed with cancer in August 2013. After an initially successful round of treatment, the cancer returned late last year, causing him to take an indefinite leave of absence from his job at Fox. The NASCAR community honored Byrnes with the #ByrnesStrong hashtag throughout his absence and held a special ceremony at Sunday's Food City 500.
Members of each pit crew held Stand Up 2 Cancer signs adorned with the phrase, "I stand up for Steve." Byrnes took to Twitter on Sunday to thank everyone involved:
Steve Byrnes @SteveByrnes12
Thanks to all for a remarkable day, my teammates @NASCARONFOX. Miss you all. Thanks for your love. @SU2C @nascar and @BMSupdates. #1Fans!4/20/2015, 2:15:15 AM
FOX Sports @FOXSports
Every crew member ... Every fan ... Everyone is #ByrnesStrong at @BMSupdates! This is for you, @SteveByrnes12! http://t.co/6hRktIbha64/19/2015, 6:30:02 PM
One of the most recognizable voices in NASCAR, Byrnes joined Fox Sports in 2001 after stints at TBS and CBS. His platforms included play-by-play announcing, studio hosting and reporting from the pit crew, where he did most of his work for Fox.
In addition to his professional work, Byrnes also became one of the sports world's most recognizable faces pushing for a cure to cancer. He was a keynote speaker at the 2014 American Cancer Society's Relay for Life.
Byrnes is survived by his wife, Karen, and son, Bryson.
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