Groundbreaking ESPN anchor Stuart Scott died Sunday morning after a long battle with cancer, the network confirmed. He was 49 years old.
"ESPN and everyone in the sports world have lost a true friend and a uniquely inspirational figure in Stuart Scott,” ESPN president John Skipper said in statement. “He leaves a void that can never be replaced.”
Scott was first diagnosed with cancer in 2007 and battled the disease on three separate occasions. Despite his grueling treatment, Scott continued to work and maintained the same enthusiasm and warmth that made him one of ESPN's most beloved personalities.
In July, Scott was honored with the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance at the 2014 ESPY awards and delivered a moving speech in which he directly addressed all those stricken with the disease. "When you die, it does not mean that you lose to cancer," Scott told the audience. "You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and in the manner in which you live."
Scott first joined ESPN in 1993 and quickly became one of the network's most popular on-air personalities, thanks to a slick style and a host of popular catchphrases that appealed to an increasingly diverse audience. "There were successful African-American sportscasters at the time," said ESPN director of news Vince Doria, who was responsible for Scott's emergence, "But Stuart spoke a much different language...that appealed to a young demographic, particularly a young African-American demographic."
Scott would go on to an illustrious career in which he covered every major sporting event in America. He also conducted interviews with both President Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama.
He is survived by his parents, O. Ray and Jacqueline Scott; siblings Stephen Scott, Synthia Kearney and Susan Scott; girlfriend Kristin Spodobalski, and his daughters Taelor, 19, and Sydni, 15, whom he also addressed back in July.
"Taelor and Sydni, I love you guys more than I will ever be able to express," he said. "You two are my heartbeat. I am standing on this stage here tonight because of you."