Today ESPN.com had the sad duty of reporting that one of their longtime hosts, John Saunders, has died. He was 61.

i

Saunders was with the network for almost 30 years, doing both play-by-play and hosting studio segments there. Some of his most notable credits include anchoring SportsCenter and hosting The Sports Reporters. Prior to becoming a broadcaster, Saunders was a junior hockey league player in Montreal.

"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."

The broadcaster was survived by wife Wanda and daughters Aleah and Jenna.