ESPN’s John Saunders Passed Away At 61

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Bristol, CT - May 12, 2013 - Studio A: John Saunders on the set of The Sports Reporters (Photo by Joe Faraoni / ESPN Images)

ESPN has lost another of it’s famed personalities, but this time it wasn’t a departure, nor a firing.

The sad passing of John Saunders, unarguably one of the most intelligent, professional hosts on ESPN, broke Wednesday morning. SportsCenter anchor and friend Hannah Storm had to sadly announce the news on air live from Rio, a statement of course filled with tears. Saunders was currently co-hosting The Sports Reporters. 

Saunders joined the network in 1986 at the age of 31, having previously co-hosted NFL Primetime from 1987 to 1989. He was also the studio host for the network’s NHL broadcasts from 1992-1993 until 2004, and is currently the studio host of ABC’s coverage college football He has also hosted ABC’s coverage of baseball under the Baseball Night In America banner and was involved in ESPN’s coverage earlier in his career. He also anchored the 1995 World Series.

ESPN personalities such as Dan Le Batard and Michael Wilbon have gone on record saying there is arguably no one person more beloved at ESPN that Saunders.

Saunders was an advocate for juvenile diabetes research and was a founding board member of the Jimmy V Foundation for cancer research, a charity that has raised almost 90 million dollars with 100 percent of the charity funding cancer research.

Though his cause of death hasn’t yet been officially reported, it was likely due to the lingering health issues Saunders had reportedly been dealing with for the past few years, as police reported no suspicion of foul play.

Saunders leaves behind his wife, Wanda, and daughters, Aleah and Jenna.

RIP John | 1955-2016

Sunday, Aug. 29, 2010 -- Bristol, CT -- Studio A -- ESPN The Sports Reporters -- Host John Saunders