RIP ESPN Anchor Stuart Scott, 1965-2015

Longtime ESPN anchor Stuart Scott has passed away at the age of 49. Scott was a fixture on SportsCenter, applying a memorable flair to the highlights that influenced many, but could only be imitated. He had been fighting cancer since 2007, facing many ups and downs along the way and keeping a strong face through it all.

Many of his colleagues and fans have taken to social media to offer praise and remembrance of the late anchor and ESPN offered a touching tribute on the air and announced his passing online. From ESPN:

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.”

That man is Stuart Scott, and his contributions to the sports lexicon are writ large. But they are only one aspect of his legacy. When he passed away, he left behind so much more. 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. He spoke to the very athletes he was talking about with a flair and a style that ESPN President John Skipper says, “changed everything.”

“He didn’t just push the envelope,” says NBC commentator and former ESPN anchor Dan Patrick. “He bulldozed it.”

And he saved his best for his last year on the air. At the ESPYs on July 16, shortly before his 49th birthday and following another round of cancer surgery, Stuart accepted the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance with strength, humor, grace and these eloquent words: “When you die, it does not mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and in the manner in which you live.”

The lasting influence of Scott is clear and one moment that stands out now is his memorable ESPYs speech while accepting the Jimmy V Award for Perserverance. Rest in peace, Stuart Scott.

UPDATE: Here’s Rich Eisen’s emotional tribute to Stuart Scott from over at NFL Network

UPDATE 2: Hannah Storm’s announcement of Scott’s passing on SportsCenter.

(Via ESPN)