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John Saunders (1955 - 2016)

Getty Images / Paley Center for Media / Photo by Larry Busacca

John Saunders (1955 - 2016)

John Saunders, a Canadian-born sports journalist who worked for ESPN and ABC, died Aug. 10, 2016, in New York, according to ESPN and other news sources. He was 61.

No cause of death was announced.

ESPN anchor Hannah Storm gets emotional when announcing the death of the beloved ESPN sportscaster:

In a statement, ESPN President John Skipper said, “John was an extraordinary talent and his friendly, informative style has been a warm welcome to sports fans for decades. His wide range of accomplishments across numerous sports and championship events is among the most impressive this industry has ever seen.

“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. … Our thoughts are with his loved ones at this extremely difficult time.”


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Saunders, who was born Feb. 2, 1955, in Ajax, Ontario, joined ESPN in 1986, hosting the sports network’s program titled “The Sports Reporters.” At the time of his death, he was the host of ABC’s coverage of college football.

Before moving to the U.S. to work as a sports anchor at a Baltimore, Maryland, television station, Saunders was a news director for an Ontario radio station and a sports anchor at an Ontario TV station.

Sports writer Adam Schefter tweeted, “Sickened and saddened to hear of loss of our colleague and friend, John Saunders. What a nice man. What a great man.” His tweet was accompanied by a photograph of a smiling Saunders.

Off screen, Saunders advocated for juvenile diabetes research. He was a founding member of the Jimmy V Foundation for cancer research.

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

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