ESPN anchor Stuart Scott has passed away of cancer. He was 49.
Scott has fought the disease since 2007, inspiring pretty much everyone along the way. He was unapologetically optimistic about his cancer diagnosis — and didn’t mind telling the world about it.
In July, 2014, ESPN honored him with a “Jimmy V Award for Perseverance.” His speech brought the Kodak Theater in Los Angeles to its feet.
Scott was first diagnosed with “appendiceal cancer” in 2007, according to Touched By Cancer magazine. Scott’s been defiantly optimistic since his diagnosis, telling the magazine in a December, 2011 interview:
“I want to show people there’s a good way to try and deal with this. A positive mental attitude goes a long way in fighting this disease, I’m convinced of that. I’m very blessed. I have a loving family, loving friends and a great job. I can’t say ‘Why me? Why did I get cancer?’ because if I say that, then I also have to ask why I got all these other blessings in life. Stuff happens, and when something bad happens, you’re kind of defined by how you respond to it.”
Scott had been a staple at ESPN since the early 90s. His style and personality changed the way sports anchors did sports on TV. He was just cooler than everyone.
He didn’t mind being himself on-air during sports highlights and quickly became a star at the “Worldwide Leader.”
Among the features of the new ESPN studio in Bristol is a wall of catchphrases made famous by on-air talent over the years. An amazing nine of them belong to one man — from his signature “Boo-Yah!” to “As cool as the other side of the pillow” to “He must be the bus driver cuz he was takin’ him to school.”
That man is Stuart Scott, and his contributions to the sports lexicon are writ large. But they are only one aspect of his legacy. When he passed away, he left behind so much more. He inspired his colleagues with his sheer talent, his work ethic and his devotion to his daughters, Taelor, 19, and Sydni, 15. He defied convention and criticism to help bring this network into a new century. He spoke to the very athletes he was talking about with a flair and a style that ESPN president John Skipper says, “changed everything.”