Posnanski traveled to Santa Fe, NM to write a profile on Charles, who is battling Stage 4 bladder cancer.
“Nick Charles will die soon. He does not hide from it. When we pass a pretty little Spanish cemetery, he says that he considered being buried there. When he talks about how much he’d like to cover one more fight for television, he smiles and admits it probably won’t happen. “It’s O.K.,” he says. “I’ve covered a lot of fights.”
The doctors found Stage 4 cancer in his bladder in August 2009. By then the cancer had already spread into his lungs. No operation could help him. At first, the highest concentration of chemo seemed to subdue the cancer cells. Seven months later the doctors said the cancer had “come back with a vengeance.” Charles noticed that it sounded like something a boxing announcer might say.
By Christmas of 2010, he knew that the fight was over. The doctors said that one more terrifying round of chemo offered a small chance to extend his life by a couple of months. Charles said no. “Remember the look on Thomas Hearns’s face when he realized that no matter what he did, he could never slow down Marvin Hagler?” he asks. He decided then that he would spend the last few months fighting a different fight.
“I want to feel everything,” he says.”
What a tragic story about the 64-year-old Charles, who was one CNN’s first on-air personalities when the station launched in 1980.