ESPN’s Stuart Scott dies at 49

stuart scottLongtime ESPN anchor Stuart Scott passed away this morning at the age of 49. Scott was diagnosed with cancer in November 2007, and had waged an ongoing battle with recurring bouts of the disease.

Stuart Scott began at ESPN in 1993, and many of his longtime colleagues at the network, and elsewhere, were noticeably emotional this morning when remembering their friend. The crew of ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown, including Chris Berman, spoke fondly of Scott, with a combination of tears and laughter at recalling how full of life he was. Hannah Storm nearly broke down when announcing the news. Rich Eisen, formerly of ESPN and now at NFL Network, gave a very moving recollection of his friend and colleague.

“He was like a ball of fire walking in the door,” says ESPN senior vice president Mark Gross, a coordinating producer at the time of Scott’s arrival at the network, in an ESPN obituary of Scott. “I had never met anybody like Stuart Scott.”


That “ball of fire” attitude would often show itself in catchphrases uttered by Scott over the years, from “Boo-YAH!” to “cool as the other side of the pillow” (the latter phrase was applied to Scott by many today). Perhaps not as fully realized by some, Scott broke ground among African-American sportscasters, as well as in gaining youthful viewers to ESPN programming. “There were successful African-American sportscasters at the time,” says ESPN director of news Vince Doria, who oversaw the studio programming for ESPN2 when Scott began. “But Stuart spoke a much different language … that appealed to a young demographic, particularly a young African-American demographic.”

Below is how a number of ESPN personalities, including Hannah Storm, Chris Berman and Merill Hoge, reacted to Stuart Scott’s passing this morning.

Rich Arden/ESPN Images