ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted that McClure died at his apartment in Atlanta. “What a nice man he was. … Rest In Peace.”
McClure was the Atlanta Falcons reporter for NFL Nation, according to his pressroom bio. In addition to regularly appearing on ESPN’s Sportscenter, he authored in-depth features, video updates and statistical analysis of the Atlanta Falcons.
Man Vaughn McClure passed a way. I literally go to his Twitter account every single day for the latest falcon news. Always see him around falcon training camp every year. Hearing this news makes me sad. Wow! Cool dude. He was only 48 😥 pic.twitter.com/fPxG92OQ5j
— Demario A. Falcons (@MARIOGA12000) October 15, 2020
Born in Chicago, McClure graduated from Northern Illinois University with a degree in journalism in 1994 before nabbing his first job as a general assignment reporter for the Dekalb Daily Chronicle, where he covered police, courts, fire and school board beats, according to his bio. Before making the move to ESPN, he also wrote for the South Bend Tribune, Fresno Bee and Chicago-Sun Times.
A cause of death for McClure was not immediately revealed. He is preceded in death by his parents, older sister and younger brother.
McClure’s Final Instagram Post Discussed His Depression Over the Deaths of His Father, Mother, Sister & Brother
View this post on Instagram
Would do anything in the world to have you four back right now to celebrate Easter. As you would say, Mom, “This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.” This pandemic has made folks understand the value of family. Believe me, I understand that family is EVERYTHING. I will see you in Heaven one day Mom, Dad, Big Sis, and Little Markie.
McClure’s final post on Instagram was shared on Father’s Day, in which he opened up about the devastating loss of his mother, father, sister and brother. On June 21, he wrote:
Dad, This is the first Father’s Day without you, and we would have celebrated your birthday Tuesday. But you’re in Heaven, and sorely missed. I’m so glad God allowed me to spend extensive time with you before you joined Him up there. You’re not missing anything down here, actually. This world is messed up. For me, I’m still trying to get over the depression of losing you, Mom, Mark, & Nona. With my big sis dying at age 38 and lil bro at 27, I wonder sometimes how much time I’ve got left. I want to live long. I’ve told myself no matter what, I want to honor the memories of all four of you while I’m alive. The only way to do that is to give everything I have no matter what obstacles I encounter.
McClure also expressed his wish to have been able to discuss the Black Lives Matter movement and his own history of being racially profiled by the police. He wrote:
I wish I shared with you the racial injustices that I encountered, including one even more traumatic than getting beat down by those cops. I’m not going to sit here and say I’ve been the victim of racism all my life. Heck, I deserved some of the bad things that happened to me because I’ve let my anger get the best of me too many times. I was a bad kid/teen/young adult, but I learned from those missteps. You set the example of how to be a strong black man. I have to do a better job of the same. I love you and miss you.
McClure only ever shared five photos on his Instagram page. Save for one picture of him interviewing Hall of Famer Terrell Owens, the remaining four photos were of his family.
ESPN Employees Filled Twitter With Heartfelt Tributes to McClure Following the News of His Death
Vaughn McClure made you feel like a celebrity every time you saw him. I simply cannot believe he is gone. Absolutely crushing. pic.twitter.com/uWjeWU6Tpa
— Dan Graziano (@DanGrazianoESPN) October 15, 2020
“We all loved Vaughn,” said John Pluym, ESPN’s senior deputy editor for digital NFL coverage. “He had a heart of gold. He was so helpful to our reporters. In the last few hours, we’ve heard so many stories about how Vaughn had helped them with a story or how he put in a good word for them with a coach or player.
“Talking to Vaughn on the phone was always a joy,” Pluym continued. “I loved how you could just sense the excitement in his voice for being able to cover the Falcons for ESPN. We will all miss him greatly. And I’ll end this the way Vaughn ended every phone call with a colleague: ‘Appreciate you. Love you.’ We all loved him, too.”
Life is too unfair at times. There’s not many people I enjoyed debating NBA with or being my tour guide in your hometown of Chicago in the summer. Gone way too soon. Love ya like a brother! RIP @vxmcclure23 pic.twitter.com/FBLGzY1iDt
— Mike Wells (@MikeWellsNFL) October 15, 2020
ESPN’s John Dickerson, who was close friends with McClure for 15 years, tweeted, “We spoke on the phone every week. To say that everyone close to Vaughn is devastated would be an understatement. Vaughn was an amazing friend and colleague. He was always there for my family during difficult times. A true friend.”
NFL Nation is a family, and today my ESPN family is hurting. Vaughn McClure, my colleague covering the Falcons, passed away unexpectedly at home. I will miss him greatly. No one knew how to network like Vaughn, and I learned so much from him about how to build sources and
— Courtney Cronin (@CourtneyRCronin) October 15, 2020
Patricia Mays, senior director of content strategy and distribution at ESPN, who brought McClure to the network after he spent six years in Chicago covering the Bears, said:
People will probably remember how Vaughn was able to connect and develop trusting relationships with many of the athletes he covered, or how diligent he was about deadlines, or the countless times he volunteered to help out a colleague on another sport. But what I respected most was how committed he was to continually improving. One of the last emails I received from him was asking for feedback. He wrote: ‘Would love to talk to you after the season about how I can get better at a lot of things. I want to be great at this job.’