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August 10, 2016

ESPN's John Saunders dead at 61

John Saunders, who spent nearly three decades as a highly respected host of various sports at ESPN, has died at 61, the network announced late Wednesday morning.

No details of his death were given.

"John was an extraordinary talent and his friendly, informative style has been a warm welcome to sports fans for decades," said John Skipper, president of ESPN and co-chairman of Disney Media Networks, in a statement. "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.

"He was one of the most significant and influential members of the ESPN family, as a colleague and mentor, and he will be sorely missed. Our thoughts are with his loved ones at this extremely difficult time."

Saunders joined ESPN in 1986 as a SportsCenter anchor and hosted studio shows on the NHL college basketball and football, baseball and the WNBNA. He also hosted The Sports Reporters.

According to ESPN, Saunders' survivors include his wife, Wanda, and daughters Aleah and Jenna.