Stuart Scott, a dedicated family man and one of ESPN’s signature SportsCenter anchors, has died after a courageous and inspiring battle with cancer. He was 49.
Scott is survived by his two daughters, Taelor, 19, and Sydni, 15; his parents, O. Ray and Jacqueline Scott; and his three siblings Stephen Scott, Synthia Kearney, Susan Scott and their families. His girlfriend, Kristin Spodobalski, was with Stuart and cared for him every step of the way and along with support from his loving family, close friends and colleagues, he went through several surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation and clinical trials to stay strong and ward off cancer for as long as humanly possible.
“ESPN and everyone in the sports world have lost a true friend and a uniquely inspirational figure in Stuart Scott,” said ESPN president John Skipper. “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.”
On July 16, 2014, Scott accepted the Jimmy V Perseverance Award at the ESPYs. During his speech, he expressed the following sentiment 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 ESPY speech, Scott shared his approach to fighting cancer. “I also realized something else recently,” he said. “I said, I’m not losing. I’m still here. I’m fighting. I’m not losing. 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.”
For 21 years, years Scott was one of ESPN’s and ABC Sports’ most recognizable and quotable personalities and one of the most popular sportscasters around the world. His catchphrases, including his most famous “Boo-ya” and “As cool as the other side of the pillow,” have become an integral part of pop culture. While Scott became instantly known for his enthusiasm and colorful descriptions, he was always proud of the facts he would weave into his storytelling, recognizing that every great story is based in fact.
After joining the network in 1993 for the launch of ESPN2, Scott became a leading voice on ESPN’s SportsCenter, where he anchored the 11pm show. Over the years, his talent and work ethic led to many additional high-profile assignments including major hosting roles on NFL and NBA programming. During his career with ESPN, Scott covered a slew of major events, including the NBA Finals, Super Bowl, Major League Baseball playoffs and World Series, the NCAA Final Four and more.
From 2007-2011 Scott was the host of ABC Sports’ weekly NBA Sunday studio show, ESPN’s NBA studio show, and served as a host during the NBA Finals Trophy presentation each year. Scott also hosted numerous ESPN and ABC series and specials, including Dream Job, Stump The Schwab, ESPN’s 25th Anniversary Special, and The ESPY Red Carpet Show.
In addition to this busy TV schedule, Scott had also worked as a regular contributor to ESPN: The Magazine, ESPN Radio, and ESPN.com.
Scott was featured in countless This is SportsCenter commercials, which he so enjoyed.
Most recently, Scott was in the anchor chair alongside his longtime partner, Steve Levy, when ESPN re-launched SportsCenter on a new set.
Scott not only interviewed most of the world’s top athletes, he interviewed top celebrities, newsmakers, and politicians. Stuart interviewed and played a televised game of one-on-one basketball with President Barack Obama, one of his two interviews with the President, and conducted numerous one-on-one interviews with the likes of Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, Denzel Washington and President Clinton.
Hollywood and Madison Avenue also took notice of Scott’s wide appeal; he was featured in numerous high-profile commercial campaigns. He appeared on many TV shows, sitcoms, feature films and music videos and was parodied in a Saturday Night Live skit.
Over the years, Scott earned numerous awards and honors. He was recently honored with the NABJ Award of Merit, received a Rammy Award which pays tribute to superlative performances in athletics, academics and sports from his beloved alma mater, UNC-Chapel Hill, and was a guest of honor at the 14th annual “An Evening with Heroes” celebration in Indianapolis, which benefits the Heroes Foundation. In 2011 he was honored by The V Foundation with “The Spirit of Jimmy V Award.” He was instrumental in raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for The V Foundation, Livestrong, and participated in Stand Up To Cancer campaigns as well donating time to raise awareness and funds for numerous other charities.
He always said a personal and professional highlight for him came in 2004, when he was requested by U.S. soldiers to be a part of “ESPN’s SportsCenter: Salute the Troops” effort, in which he and fellow anchors hosted a week of programs originating in Kuwait.
Prior to joining ESPN, Scott worked at local stations in Orlando, Florida; Raleigh, North Carolina and Florence, South Carolina. He was graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1987. One of his proudest moments came when he served as the commencement speaker at his alma mater in 2001.
At North Carolina he played wide receiver and defensive back for a club football team.
He was diagnosed with cancer in November 2007, and dealt with recurring bouts of the disease. He met the challenge as he did everything in his life – with determination, a courageous fighting spirit and an always positive attitude that impacted and inspired everyone who knew him.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to The V Foundation (www.jimmyv.org).
Photo Montage: https://library.espnimages.com/?c=13148&k=b91bc12505
Videos: (Good Morning America Feature, April 2014) https://vimeo.com/102637341
(ESPY Speech, July 2014) https://vimeo.com/user30838043/review/102573257/d8aacf6f30)