SportsCenter anchor Stuart Scott died this morning from cancer at age 49. The 21-year sports broadcasting veteran was diagnosed with the disease in November of 2007, and according to a press release from ESPN he passed away on Sunday morning, January 4.
Scott eventually took his battle with cancer public, culminating in the Jimmy V Perseverance Award he received at last summer's ESPYs. The moving video of his acceptance speech sparked an emotional reaction from the sports and media community, and Scott's dedication and love for his daughters Taelor, 19, and Sydni, 15, was inspiring.
“Taelor and Sydni, I love you guys more than I will ever be able to express," he said in the emotional clip. "You two are my heartbeat. I am standing on this stage here tonight because of you."
He went on to express his thoughts about fighting cancer, dedicating himself to never giving up.
"I also realized something else recently," Scott said. "I said, I’m not losing. I’m still here. I’m fighting. I’m not losing. But I’ve got to amend that. When you die, that does not mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and the manner in which you live. So live. Live. Fight like hell.”
Watch the full moving speech below, it captures the charisma and passion that Scott brought to everything in his life:
Scott is also survived by his parents O. Ray and Jacqueline Scott, and his three siblings Stephen Scott, Synthia Kearney, Susan Scott and their families, along with his girlfriend Kristin Spodobalski who stuck by him throughout his battle with the disease.
ESPN president John Skipper said in a statement that Scott was a truly inspirational figure.
"ESPN and everyone in the sports world have lost a true friend and a uniquely inspirational figure in Stuart Scott," Skiller said. "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."
Scott joined the network in 1993 and quickly became a leading voice on SportsCenter, from anchoring shows to hosting high-profile NFL and NBA events, covering SuperBowls and much more. He interviewed everyone from Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan to Denzel Washington and President Clinton.
A quick pop culture tidbit about how influential Scott is—he was the one who popularized the phrase "Boo-Yah!" and many of his colleagues still referred to him by this as a nickname. ESPN has also provided an excellent obituary detailing Scott's accomplishments which is available here, along with a 15-minute tribute video that you can watch below.
In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations be made to the V foundation.