On Christmas Eve, the devastating news that ESPN reporter Edward Aschoff passed away at the age of 34 was reported by Lake City Reporter’s Zach Abolverdi. In his tweet, Abolverdi wrote that Aschoff had died from pneumonia. Christmas Eve was his birthday.
Aschoff’s final post on Instagram detailed his sickness. Featuring a photo of fiancée Katy Berteau he wrote on December 4, “Having pneumonia is pretty terrible. Like the absolute worst. But it helps having this sweet angel taking care of you even when she’s risking getting this soul-crushing illness herself. All the soup, tea and delicious meals have kept me from crawling into a corner and crying the days away. Love you, babe. Thanks for putting up with my 5 am coughing fits @katybert #wcw”
Condolences from his co-workers quickly flooded Twitter following the news of his untimely passing. SiriusXM college sports host Rachel Joy Baribeau wrote the following:
“My heart is so heavy. @AschoffESPN was one of the best people I ever knew. He comforted me when I lost my dad and again with my mom; he could relate. I can only imagine the reunion for him today at the pearly gates.”
Jared Stillman, host of the Jared & the GM on ESPN Nashville tweeted:
“Edward Aschoff was a good man and a good reporter. He was very generous with his time for other people and had a passion for college football wherever he went on. I always thought he was going to be a preeminent college football reporter for ESPN for years to come. Tragic news.”
Aschoff worked for ESPN since 2011 and relocated to live in Los Angeles with Berteau in 2018. They were set to marry in Spring 2020. On Thursday, Berteau opened up about his passing in a heartfelt message, sharing the details of his final few days.
Here’s what you need to know about Edward Aschoff:
1. Aschoff Was A Graduate of The University of Florida
Before coming to work for ESPN, Aschoff earned his B.S. in Journalism from University of Florida. He served as The Gainesville Sun/GatorSports.com recruiting beat for University of Florida football, basketball, and baseball from 2007 to 2011.
Aschoff started working as a freelance sports writer for SOBeFiT magazine, Warning Magazine, and Rival.com before landing the SEC football reporter job for ESPN in 2011. He covered all 14 football programs during the regular season, and produced about 30 individual pieces of content a week.
2. Aschoff Talked Openly About Growing Up Biracial In Oxford, Mississippi
The SEC reporter mostly discussed college sports in interviews, but during a chat on Sports Nation, talking about ESPN’s 30 for 30’s Ghosts of Ole Miss, he opened up about his childhood in the South.
“Growing up a biracial person in Oxford, I’ve been around plenty of racial incidents, both good and bad,” Aschoff said. There are always going to be people who say ignorant things. No one is perfect, but people need to realize that there are right-minded people in the state. It’s not the 1960s anymore, but I think people who have never been to the state or don’t know anyone from the state still think that the negative attitudes from some people back then still remain. Are their people with similar thoughts and feelings? Absolutely, but it isn’t the majority and I think people only assume that it is.”
3. Katy Berteau Proposed to Aschoff With A Godzilla Ring When They Got Engaged
Reversing the traditional roles, longtime girlfriend Katy Berteau got down on one knee to propose to the man she wanted to marry. Aschoff shared the news on Instagram on December 18, 2018, and described how he was so totally surprised.
In his beautiful post to celebrate their engagement, Aschoff captioned the series of events.
“In what was supposed to only be a surprise 30th bday weekend in Atlanta for @katybert she totally surprised me with what also became an amazing engagement celebration weekend. I was in total shock that Katy was able to pull this off while I was trying to pull off my own special weekend. I couldn’t be happier to be marrying my best friend and amazing partner. If she’s willing to kneel in the mud AND make you a Godzilla ring you know she’s the perfect person for you. We’re weird together and that’s what makes us go. I love you so freaking much.”
4. Both Aschoff’s Parents Are Deceased
Aschoff had great respect for both of his parents, and even though they had already passed away, posted tributes to them on Instagram on their birthdays, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.
In the same interview with Sports Nation, Aschoff offered, “Just look at my parents,” while discussing how much his hometown had changed over the years. “They arrived in Oxford in the 80s as an interracial couple and stayed there until they passed away. They never thought about leaving Oxford. I grew up with a diverse group of friends. But it’s important to remember that Oxford and Mississippi weren’t the only places like this in the world.”
“I think what gets thrown in Ole Miss’ face is all the animosity surrounding Meredith and the length it took to integrate the university and the football team. This year, Ole Miss crowned its first black homecoming queen, Ashleigh Davis. The state gets a lot of flack, but there really is good, rich history there.”
5. Aschoff Said He Was Suffering From Pneumonia While Covering OSU v Michigan on December 2
The ESPN reporter powered on with work despite having pneumonia earlier in December. He posted a series of photos on Instagram from College GameDay with the caption, “Covering #TheGame was a lot of fun. Getting pneumonia … not so much. But, hey, I’m a hockey player.” He was so excited, Aschoff described covering this match-up on Instagram by writing, “Cross this one off the bucket list #BigHouse #goblue #Buckeyes #TheGame” before kick-off.
Aschoff, who relocated to live in Los Angeles with Berteau last year, appeared to absolutely love his job, so it doesn’t seem out of character that he insisted on working through his illness. His passion for his work and his future wife was mentioned numerous times in the tributes paid to him online.
Neil McCready tweeted, “I’m gutted today. Edward Aschoff was a supreme talent, yes, but he was a dear friend. He was going to be a superstar in our field. More importantly, he was so happy about getting married. He was just a remarkable soul. I can’t find the words tonight.”