NFL reporter Chris Mortensen has been diagnosed with stage IV throat cancer and will be temporarily stepping away from his job at ESPN. Mortensen released a statement, saying in part:
“More than a week ago, I was diagnosed with a Stage IV throat cancer. My focus shifted significantly to gathering information about the specifics of this cancer. The initial diagnosis was confirmed Friday and there is another test remaining that will determine the best possible treatment plan that will commence in the very immediate future. Consequently, with the support and encouragement from ESPN president John Skipper and many others at ESPN, I am temporarily stepping away from my normal NFL coverage duties to better engage this opportunity to fight the good fight that is projected to affect almost 1.7 million Americans with new cases in 2016.”
The news was first announced on air Friday afternoon during ESPN’s NFL Insiders by Mortensen’s broadcast colleague, Suzy Kolber.
The 64-year-old Mortensen has been covering the NFL on ESPN since 1991, and regularly appears on many of their flagship shows including SportsCenter, Sunday NFL Countdown, and NFL Live.
ESPN President John Skipper released this statement following the news:
“Our thoughts are with Chris and his family as he faces this challenge, He is an extremely respected colleague, who has the complete support of his entire ESPN family. We wish him strength and hope in the battle ahead and look forward to his return whenever he chooses.”
News of Mortensen’s diagnosis comes less than two weeks after the the first anniversary of the death of Mortensen’s former ESPN colleague Stuart Scott, who passed away from cancer in 2015.