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ESPN's Stuart Scott Dies at Age 49 Following Battle with Cancer

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJanuary 4, 2015

Dec 2, 2013; Seattle, WA, USA; ESPN broadcaster Stuart Scott on the Monday Night Countdown set before the NFL game between the New Orleans Saints and the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
USA TODAY Sports

Longtime ESPN broadcaster Stuart Scott died Sunday morning after an extended battle with cancer. He was 49 years old.

SportsCenter confirmed the news:

SportsCenter @SportsCenter

We are heartbroken to report that Stuart Scott has died after a long fight with cancer. He was 49. http://t.co/aI0TGwFqGU

ESPN president John Skipper added

ESPN and everyone in the sports world have lost a true friend and a uniquely inspirational figure in Stuart Scott. 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.

ESPN's Linda Cohn followed Skipper with a heartfelt message: 

Linda Cohn @lindacohn

I can't believe he is gone. There was nobody like Stuart Scott, There will never be again. A big presence with even a bigger heart. RIP SS.

Scott spent more than two decades with ESPN. He joined the network in 1993 as it was getting prepared to launch ESPN2 and steadily grew into one of ESPN's most well-known and respected personalities.

While he'll always be remembered for assisting in the rise of SportsCenter, which he brought to life with countless catchphrases—"As cool as the other side of the pillow" being a classic—he also took a leading role in the fight against cancer in recent years.

LeBron James highlighted Scott's personality and flare in his Instagram message:

Barack Obama also commented on Scott's passing, via ESPN PR:

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ESPN PR @ESPNPR

President Barack Obama.on Stuart Scott: http://t.co/7YXGLx2wHy http://t.co/j06MyyYVJE

ESPN Media Zone notes potentially cancerous tissue was first discovered in 2007 during an emergency appendectomy. It marked the beginning of a battle that featured several steps forward but also some setbacks as the disease proved difficult to shake.

Scott was honored for his public fight at the 2014 ESPY Awards, where he became the latest recipient of the Jimmy V ESPY Award for Perseverance. Named for college basketball coach Jim Valvano, whose life was also taken by cancer in 1993, the award is given to somebody who shows perseverance in the face of difficult circumstances.

Scott also kept people updated about his battle on social media. Back in November, he set the record straight and made it clear he was continuing to fight:

Stuart Scott @StuartScott

Rumor bout me in hospice. Not True. Airball. Swing & a miss. I continue treatment for C & missed some work but Hospice?No. Fighting? YES!

Sports fans will remember Scott for making the morning highlight show must-see TV. He also brought the same enthusiasm to everything from NFL Countdown and the NBA on ESPN to several of the network's reality shows, including Stump the Schwab and Dream Job.

His resume is undeniably impressive, but the impact he had on people by providing strength to others during his own trying time may be his lasting legacy.

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