Stuart Scott dead; ESPN anchor was 49

Scott battled cancer for seven years.

Longtime ESPN anchor Stuart Scott died Sunday morning, the sports network reported. He was 49.

“He inspired his colleagues with his sheer talent, his work ethic and his devotion to his daughters, Taelor, 19, and Sydni, 15. He defied convention and criticism to help bring this network into a new century,” ESPN wrote. “He spoke to the very athletes he was talking about with a flair and a style that ESPN president John Skipper says, ‘changed everything.'”

Scott, who arrived at ESPN in 1993, battled appendiceal cancer for seven years. He took home the Jimmy V Perseverance Award at 2014’s ESPYS, an award meant to honor his determination in his fight against the illness, as well as his meaningful contributions to the world of sports journalism.

The spunky anchor acknowledged that he was still fighting via Twitter in November.

“Rumor bout me in hospice,” he tweeted. “Not True. Airball. Swing & a miss. I continue treatment for C & missed some work but Hospice? No. Fighting? YES!”

Scott was widely respected for shaking up the “Sports Center” anchoring model, but he humbly shied away from taking credit.

“I followed what had already been established [at ESPN], and that is be yourself,’’ he said on a media tour in July. “When I got to ESPN I saw the people who ran our company had the foresight to understand diversity… and diversity is not just what people look like. It is personality and how people fit on the air.’’

Born in Chicago and raised in North Carolina, Scott played on the club football team at the University of North Carolina before taking his first job at a local TV station in Florence, South Carolina. Scott was known for his quotable on-air catchphrases, including “Boo-Yah!” and “As cool as the other side of the pillow.”