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Hall of Fame Broadcaster Jack Whitaker Dies at 95 in His Sleep

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistAugust 19, 2019

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 30:  Sports broadcaster and Lifetime Achievement Award winner Jack Whitaker attends the 33rd annual Sports Emmy awards at Frederick P. Rose Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center on April 30, 2012 in New York City.  (Photo by D Dipasupil/Getty Images)
D Dipasupil/Getty Images

Hall of Fame broadcaster Jack Whitaker died Sunday aged 95.

CBS (h/t ESPN), where he worked for 22 years, reported Whitaker died in his sleep of natural causes.

Among his career highlights, Whitaker called the first Super Bowl in 1967 and Secretariat's successful Triple Crown bid in 1973.

CBS Sports and ESPN paid tribute to the broadcasting legend:

CBS Sports @CBSSports

CBS Sports remembers legendary sportscaster Jack Whitaker. https://t.co/0kwIsM9qVD

ESPN PR @ESPNPR

ESPN statement on Jack Whitaker: https://t.co/F2HEejkz4l https://t.co/RLXLNU13dK

So too did his friends and former colleagues:

Mike Lupica @MikeLupica

My dear friend Jack Whitaker has passed away. He was a figure of grace and elegance at CBS and ABC for a half-century. He was as brilliant an essayist as sports television has ever known. More than anything, he was a gentleman.

Randy Moss @randy_moss_TV

Jack Whitaker was pure elegance and class, and working with him the last few years of his broadcasting career is one of the highlights of mine. Even when he was in his late 70s, Jack’s was the sharpest mind on any telecast he worked. An amazing talent and wonderful man. Godspeed.

caton bredar @CBredar

My first experiences in TV were working as runner/researcher for ABC’s racing coverage. How lucky was I to assist Jack Whitaker, so smart, so professional with a great sense of humor. His essays remain the gold standard in sports journalism in my eyes. RIP Jack. https://t.co/IxeyICUEBj

Whitaker, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was a World War II veteran.

At the age of 20, he was wounded by an artillery strike after landing on Omaha Beach in Normandy, France, on June 9, 1944, three days after the D-Day landings.

He began his broadcasting career at WCAU-TV, where among other things he announced the local weather in Philadelphia.

At CBS, after starting out at their Philadelphia station, he began working in network sports in 1961, and he covered a range of sports from golf and horse racing to NFL, soccer and baseball. 

Newscaster Jon Belmont offered further insight into his career:

Jon Belmont @jbelmont

Sportscaster Jack Whitaker dies at 95. He was the last living play-by-play announcer from the first 21 Super Bowls.

Whitaker moved to ABC Sports in 1982 and covered both the Summer and Winter Olympics in 1984 as well as the latter again in 1988.

In 2012, he was inducted into the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame.

"There will never be another Jack Whitaker in sports broadcasting," said CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus, per CBS News' Brian Pascus"His amazing writing ability, on-air presence and humanity are unmatched."