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Chris Mortensen Diagnosed with Throat Cancer

Sideline reporter Chris Mortensen  on ESPN Monday Night Football September 11, 2006 in Washington.  The Minnesota  Vikings defeated the Redskins  19 - 16.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images
Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistJanuary 15, 2016

Longtime NFL analyst Chris Mortensen is taking a leave of absence from ESPN after being diagnosed with throat cancer last week.

ESPN confirmed the news and passed along a statement from the 64-year-old, who provided further information about his decision and outlook:

More than a week ago, I was diagnosed with a Stage IV throat cancer. My focus shifted significantly to gathering information about the specifics of this cancer. The initial diagnosis was confirmed Friday and there is another test remaining that will determine the best possible treatment plan that will commence in the very immediate future.

Mortensen also thanked his family and ESPN for their support before adding that he has "a peace about this and look forward to the battle."

The announcement from the network included comments from ESPN president John Skipper as well.

"Our thoughts are with Chris and his family as he faces this challenge," Skipper said. "He is an extremely respected colleague, who has the complete support of his entire ESPN family. We wish him strength and hope in the battle ahead and look forward to his return whenever he chooses."

Mortensen has become a key fixture of the outlet's NFL coverage since arriving in 1991. He makes regular appearances on the network's various programs dedicated to the league, including Sunday NFL Countdown, as one of the resident insiders.

Before joining the Worldwide Leader, he worked at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on various beats and covered the NFL for the National.

Last year, ESPN colleague Stuart Scott died after an extended battle with cancer. His public fight served as an inspiration to many and can do the same for Mortensen as he starts his own journey on the road he hopes will lead to a complete recovery.

No timetable was provided for how long the analyst's treatment plan is expected to take.

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