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.
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.
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.