Weeks after sharing he was battling pneumonia, ESPN college football reporter Edward Aschoff died Christmas Eve on his 34th birthday.
The University of Florida graduate detailed his sickness is several posts on Instagram and Twitter. In one post, Aschoff noted that he had a virus for two weeks, which later turned into multifocal pneumonia, an infection of the air sacs in both lungs, heavy.com reports.
“Covering #TheGame was a lot of fun. Getting pneumonia … not so much. But, hey, I’m a hockey player,” he wrote in a Dec.2 post while covering the Ohio State vs Michigan game.
Aschoff’s final post on Instagram on December 4 featured a photo of his fiancée Katy Berteau, along with the message, “Having pneumonia is pretty terrible. Like the absolute worst. But it helps having this sweet angel taking care of you even when she’s risking getting this soul-crushing illness herself.”
The Oxford, Miss. native worked for ESPN since 2011 and previously covered Florida football for The Gainesville Sun. He and Berteau lived together in Los Angeles and were planning to marry after she proposed to him while celebrating her 30th birthday last December.
Several of their friends and his colleagues and co-workers are sharing their condolences on Twitter.
“We are very sorry to have to share the devastating news of the tragic passing of friend and ESPN colleague Edward Aschoff,” ESPN said in a statement. “He died earlier today, his 34th birthday. Our thoughts are with his loved ones, including his fiancée, Katy.”
The network didn’t announce his cause of death, but as noted by the New York Post, Florida sports reporter Steven Abolverdi indicated on Twitter that Aschoff passed “after a battle with pneumonia.”
“Devastated to hear my friend @AschoffESPN has passed away after a battle with pneumonia,” Abolverdi tweeted before ESPN announced his death. “Ed was a big reason I decided to pursue journalism. He took me under his wing at the Sun and I’m forever grateful. Incredible reporter and an even better person. You will be missed!”
Jared Stillman, host of Jared & the GM on ESPN Nashville sang Aschoff’s praises on Twitter:
Edward Aschoff was a good man and a good reporter. He was very generous with his time for other people and had a passion for college football wherever he went on. I always thought he was going to be a preeminent college football reporter for ESPN for years to come. Tragic news. https://t.co/wCzSZvPCTZ
— Jared Stillman (@JaredStillman) December 25, 2019
ESPN’s Jeff Borzello called Aschoff “one of the brightest young talents at ESPN.”
“For as good of a reporter Ed was, he was an even better person,” said ESPN executive editor Lauren Reynolds.
Aschoff mostly covered sports as an SEC reporter but he once opened up about racism and growing up biracial in the South during ESPN’s 30 for 30’s Ghosts of Ole Miss.
“Growing up a biracial person in Oxford, I’ve been around plenty of racial incidents, both good and bad,” he said. “There are always going to be people who say ignorant things. No one is perfect, but people need to realize that there are right-minded people in the state. It’s not the 1960s anymore.”
In the same interview, he noted that his parents, who passed away years ago, “arrived in Oxford in the 80s as an interracial couple and stayed there until they passed away,” adding, “They never thought about leaving Oxford.”
Aschoff’s passion for his work and excitement about his upcoming marriage were mentioned several times in the tributes online.
“He was so happy about getting married. He was just a remarkable soul. I can’t find the words tonight,” Neil McCready tweeted.
Aschoff and Berteau were planning to marry in New Orleans in April.