Veteran ESPN personality John Saunders dies at age 61

Veteran ESPN host and presenter John Saunders has died unexpectedly in New York at the age of 61.

Saunders, who joined the network in 1986 as an anchor on SportsCenter, was one of the longest serving commentators with the company.

He hosted studio shows, including The Sports Reporters, and covered college football, basketball, hockey, baseball and a variety of other sports.

ESPN President John Skipper remembered the 61-year-old as an ‘extraordinary talent’.

‘His wide range of accomplishments across numerous sports and championship events is among the most impressive this industry has ever seen,’ Skipper said in a statement.

‘More importantly, John was a beloved and devoted family man who cared deeply about people and causes, as evidenced by his long-standing efforts as a passionate board member for The V Foundation for Cancer Research.

‘He was one of the most significant and influential members of the ESPN family, as a colleague and mentor, and he will be sorely missed.

Saunders (pictured in February), who joined the network in 1986 as an anchor on SportsCenter, was one of the longest serving commentators with the company

‘Our thoughts are with his loved ones at this extremely difficult time.’

SportsCenter anchor Hannah Storm fought back tears as she announced Saunders death.

‘I have some shocking and sad news to report to you,’ Storm said during the ESPN broadcast.

‘Our generous and talented and beloved colleague John Saunders has died. John is one of the most familiar on-air faces at ESPN, you know him’.

ESPN host John Saunders and former coach Mack Brown on the set of the ESPN Championship Drive show prior to this year's college football national championship game

Saunders (right) hosted studio shows, including The Sports Reporters, and covered college football, basketball, hockey, baseball and a variety of other sports

Other colleagues were quick to mourn Saunders passing on social media.

‘Sickened and saddened to hear of loss of our colleague and friend, John Saunders. What a nice man. What a great man,’ NFL reporter Adam Schefter tweeted.

‘No 1 more generous at ESPN than John Saunders. When I arrived he was my 1st & only mentor. During tough times he gave me strength. T.Y John,’ SportsCenter anchor Max Bretos said.

ESPN President John Skipper remembered the Saunders (pictured after the 2014 Orange Bowl in Miami) as an 'extraordinary talent'

Colleagues were quick to share their thoughts about Saunders on social media, with many mourning his passing

‘I will miss my friend John Saunders. Talented. Generous. Kind. Too young,’ Jeremy Schaap added.

Saunders was also a a founding member of the board of directors for The V Foundation for Cancer Research.

Saunders was born in Ontario, Canada, and played hockey at Western Michigan University from 1974-76.

He is survived by his wife, Wanda, and two daughters, Aleah and Jenna.

Source: The DailyMail

scroll to top