Stuart Scott, whose smooth delivery, trademark catchphrases and off-the-charts energy made him one of the most well-known and well-liked sports anchors in history, died Sunday morning after a long battle with cancer. He was 49.
Scott’s death came following a long absence from ESPN, where he emerged during the network’s 1990s heyday as one of its most prominent and marketable anchors.
An African-American icon who brought the flair of hip-hop to the Sportscenter set and inspired a generation of black sportscasters, Scott was one of the network’s longest-tenured on-air personalities, having stayed — and flourished — long after colleagues such as Dan Patrick, Rich Eisen and Keith Olbermann left.
Here’s what you need to know about his battle with cancer:
1. Scott’s Cancer Returned in 2013 After Going Into Remission
According to his ESPN obituary, doctors first discovered a malignancy while Scott was undergoing an emergency appendectomy on November 26, 2007, after he’d become ill while covering the Steelers-Dolphins Monday Night Football game.
Scott underwent a subsequent surgery to remove the malignancy and continued to work as he underwent preventative chemotherapy.
In 2011, Scott was diagnosed with cancer in the abdomen. The disease went into remission in 2012, but returned again in 2013.
Scott, who had anchored ESPN’s Monday Night Football pregame and postgame coverage, missed the 2014 season while undergoing treatment.
On December 8, colleague Suzy Kolber led the crew in an emotional tribute to Scott, urging him to “keep fighting.”
On November 11, Scott shot down a rumor circulating on Twitter that he was in hospice care.
2. Scott Delivered a Touching Speech at the ESPYs About His Fight With Cancer
Scott delivered an emotional speech at the 2014 ESPYs after being honored with the Jimmy V Perseverance Award.
From the speech:
To be honored with this … I know I have a responsibility to never give up. … I’m not special; I just listened to what the man said.” “When you die, it does not mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, while you live and the manner in which you live.
Scott revealed during the speech that he had four surgeries in seven days in the week prior to his appearance, when he was suffering from liver complications and kidney failure.
3. Scott Watched His Daughter’s Soccer Game via FaceTime While in the Hospital
Scott was in the hospital last month and was forced to miss his youngest daughter’s soccer game. But he Facetimed with a friend at the game who was able to show him the game so he could miss it. Scott then talked about the game on Twitter.
4. Scott Had Appeared on ESPN & Worked Out in an MMA Gym Amid Treatments
Even though Scott’s appearances on ESPN weren’t as frequent as they used to be throughout his bout with cancer, the anchor still made a presence on the network every once in a while. In addition to his ESPN duties, Scott also still trains at a local MMA Gym.
“There are some days when I say, I don’t know how he’s doing it,” Mark Gross, a senior vice president for ESPN who has known Scott for two decades, told the New York Times.
5. Scott’s Family Meant Everything To Him
Scott is survived by daughters Taelor, 19 and Sydni, 15. He was married to Taelor and Syndi’s mother, Kimberley Scott, until the two divorced in 2010.
Scott started dating Kristin Spodobalski in 2013.
During his ESPY’s speech, Scott brought Sydni on stage. He then concluded his speech by talking about both of his daughters.
“The best thing I’ve ever done, the best thing I will ever do is be a dad to Taelor and Sydni. I can’t ever give up because I can’t leave my daughters. I love you girls more than I will ever be able to express. You are my heartbeat. I am standing on this stage tonight because of you.”