Stuart Scott, one of ESPN’s best-known “SportsCenter” anchors, died Sunday at a hospital in the Hartford, Conn., area after a seven-year battle with cancer. He was 49. Scott, who joined the sports giant in 1993 for the launch of ESPN2, was diagnosed with cancer in November 2007 and dealt with recurring bouts of the disease.
In addition to hosting “SportsCenter,” Scott covered numerous events and specials over his 21-year career with ESPN and ABC Sports. His most famous catchphrases — “Booyah!” and “As cool as the other side of the pillow” — have become part of pop culture; Scott was even parodied on “Saturday Night Live.”
“ESPN and everyone in the sports world have lost a true friend and a uniquely inspirational figure in Stuart Scott,” ESPN president John Skipper said in a statement. “Who engages in mixed martial arts training in the midst of chemotherapy treatments? Who leaves a hospital procedure to return to the set? His energetic and unwavering devotion to his family and to his work while fighting the battle of his life left us in awe, and he leaves a void that can never be replaced.”
At this year’s ESPY Awards in July, Scott was presented with the Jimmy V Perseverance Award, named after college basketball coach and ESPN sportscaster Jim Valvano (who died of cancer in 1993). In Scott’s acceptance speech, he said about his two daughters: “Taelor and Sydni, I love you guys more than I will ever be able to express. You two are my heartbeat. I am standing on this stage here tonight because of you.”
During his ESPYs speech, Scott explained how he approached his fight against cancer. “I said, I’m not losing. I’m still here. I’m fighting. I’m not losing,” he said. “But I’ve got to amend that. When you die, that does not mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and the manner in which you live. So live. Live. Fight like hell.”