ESPN’s John Saunders Has Died

By Mark Joyella 

ESPN announced this morning that longtime host and SportsCenter anchor John Saunders has died. Saunders was 61.

Hannah Storm, telling viewers she had “some shocking and sad news,” was visibly emotional as she announced Saunders’ death on SportsCenter from Rio Wednesday.

Saunders, a fixture on the network for nearly 30 years, joined ESPN in 1986. Over nearly three decades he covered college football, basketball and NHL, and anchored The Sports Reporters. “John was an extraordinary talent and his friendly, informative style has been a warm welcome to sports fans for decades,” said ESPN president John Skipper in a statement. “His wide range of accomplishments across numerous sports and championship events is among the most impressive this industry has ever seen … 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. Our thoughts are with his loved ones at this extremely difficult time.”

A cause of death was not announced.