UNITED STATES—Long time ESPN host John Saunders passed away at the age of 61 on Wednesday, August 10 when his wife Wanda found him unresponsive in their home.
Saunders was a broadcaster at ESPN for nearly 30 years. He passed away after emergency responders couldn’t resuscitate him after reportedly rushing to him around 4 a.m., according to reports. He was pronounced dead inside his New York residence.
The cause of Saunders’ death is unknown, but a detective ruled out foul play according to TMZ.
Saunders joined ESPN in 1986 and was the host of ESPN’s The Sports Reporters, in September 2001. He previously co-hosted NFL Prime Time from 1987 to 1989. He was also the studio host for the network’s NHL broadcasts from 1992-1993 until 2004, and was the studio host of ABC’s coverage of college football.
From 2002 to 2004, and partially during the 2007 season, Saunders did play-by-play for ESPN’s coverage of the NBA, mostly on Sunday nights. Saunders also served as a back-up play-by-play announcer for NBA on ABC. Saunders was also an play-by-play announcer for the Toronto Raptors from 1995-2001.
John was an advocate for juvenile diabetes research and was a founding board member of the Jimmy V Foundation for cancer research, a charity that has raised almost $90 million with 100 percent of the charity funding cancer research.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver released a statement after Saunders passing.
“We are deeply saddened by the passing of John Saunders,” said Silver. “His achievements in journalism are matched only by his commitment to his community, particularly his service as a founding member of the V Foundation. We send our deepest condolences to his wife, Wanda, their two daughters, Aleah and Jenna, and the entire Saunders family during this difficult time.”