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Longtime ESPN host John Saunders has died. The anchor of such programs as ESPN's College Football Live, ABC's Saturday football programming and The Sports Reporters was only 61. The news was confirmed this morning by Sportscenter anchor Hannah Storm. The broadcast marks a second time that Storm had to announce a co-workers death live on the air, following Stuart Scott's death in 2015.
Storm's commentary on John Saunders' passing was extremely emotional. The longtime ESPN news anchor was clearly very upset when she read the announcement on the air, noting that the news was shocking and seemingly very unexpected.
I have some shocking and sad news to report. Our generous and talented and beloved colleague John Saunders has died. John is one of the most familiar on-air faces on ESPN. He has been on ESPN for nearly 30 years... John Saunders was 61 years old.
The sad announcement should resonate with a lot of ESPN viewers, as well as sports fans in general. John Saunders was a familiar face on a lot of sports scenes. In addition to the well-known programs mentioned in the first paragraph of this article, during his career Saunders also was involved with calling play-for-play for both college basketball and WNBA games. A former junior league hockey player himself, in the eighties, he even briefly took on some NHL coverage followed by a little Major League Baseball work in the early nineties. It's hard to truly get down to the nitty gritty of every sport John Saunders was able to be involved with in some capacity, and Hannah Storm's announcement mentions even more.
In addition to his work in sports journalism, John Saunders served on the board and was a founding member of the V Foundation for Cancer Research.
It's been a shocking few months for celebrity deaths, namely because we've lost so many people seemingly before their times. The likes of Anton Yelchin, Prince and David Bowie are all gone. John Saunders was only 61 and was regularly working when he unexpectedly passed. No news has broken yet regarding how he died, but we do know he left behind his wife, Wanda, and his two daughters, Jenna and Aleah. Our hearts go out to them as they are dealing with the loss of a husband and a father. We too are reeling from the loss of such an iconic sports figure.