ESPN anchor Stuart Scott dies of cancer at 49.

ESPN Anchor Stuart Scott Dies of Cancer at 49

ESPN Anchor Stuart Scott Dies of Cancer at 49

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Jan. 4 2015 10:56 AM

ESPN Anchor Stuart Scott Dies of Cancer at 49

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Stuart Scott accepts an award at the 2014 ESPYS in Los Angeles.

Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Longtime ESPN anchor Stuart Scott died Sunday after years of living with cancer. Scott was “the sports broadcaster that an entire generation of aspiring broadcasters wanted to be,” as CNN describes him.

Scott joined the sports network in 1993 for the launch of ESPN2 and quickly moved up to become one of the main SportsCenter anchors. “By 2008, Scott was ubiquitous among the network's programming,” notes USA Today. “He anchored late-night SportsCenter shows, hosted Monday Night Countdown on location during the NFL season, served as the lead host for NBA on ESPN and ABC and interviewed Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign.”

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One of the things that made him so memorable was his catchphrases. ESPN explains:

Among the features of the new ESPN studio in Bristol is a wall of catchphrases made famous by on-air talent over the years. An amazing nine of them belong to one man—from his signature "Boo-Yah!" to “As cool as the other side of the pillow” to “He must be the bus driver cuz he was takin' him to school.”
“I've called him Boo-Yah forever,” said Norby Williamson, the ESPN senior vice president who helped guide Stuart during his first years in the network. “Ever since he used that catchphrase on the air for the first time, and we looked at each other and said, ‘What the hell is that?’ ”

Yet most recently, Scott was also an inspiration for the way he talked about his “fight” with cancer.

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Although he was initially very private about the disease, which was first diagnosed in 2007, he became increasingly public with it. Scott really opened up in July, when he received the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance at the 2014 ESPY Awards and got a standing ovation. “When you die, that does not mean that you lose to cancer,” Scott told the audience. “You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and in the manner in which you live.” At the time, Eliza Berman wrote in Slate that the most inspiring thing about that speech was how Scott picked apart the clichés about how those who have cancer are taking part in a heroic battle. “When you get too tired to fight, then lay down, and rest, and let somebody else fight for you,” Scott said.

Scott is survived by his two daughters, Taelor, 19, and Sydni, 15.* Despite all his career success, Scott always made it clear he didn’t think there was anything more rewarding than his role as a father. “The best thing I have ever done, the best thing I will ever do,” Scott said in that same speech, “is be a dad to Taelor and Sydni.”

*Correction, Jan. 5, 2014: This post originally misstated Sydni's age.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the Today’s Papers column from 2006 to 2009. Follow him on Twitter.