Longtime ESPN anchor and personality Stuart Scott died Sunday morning at the age of 49, the network reported. Scott, who spent 22 years at ESPN, was best known for his appearances as an anchor on the network’s flagship “SportsCenter” program where he became known for signature catchphrases such as “Boo-yah!” and “He must be the bus driver ’cause he was takin’ him to school.” Scott battled cancer for years and recently underwent a series of surgeries to fight the disease.
The “SportsCenter” verified Twitter account announced Scott’s death:
We are heartbroken to report that Stuart Scott has died after a long fight with cancer. He was 49. pic.twitter.com/aI0TGwFqGU
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 4, 2015
In a statement about Scott’s death, ESPN noted “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.”
Scott appeared at ESPN’s awards show, the ESPYs, in July when he received the Jimmy V Award for his “courageous fight against cancer.”
“So while the grief is deep at ESPN over the death of Stuart Scott, so is our gratitude,” the network said in a statement on its website. “He was as popular on-campus as he was in the airports he passed through and on the sidelines he worked over the last 22 years. He brought so much to the party, and he will continue to do so, through the people he inspired, and the language that he liberated, and the audience that will remember him.”
Scott was born in Chicago, but moved with his family to North Carolina early in his life so that the family could live with he and his sisters' father who was a postal inspector, according to ESPN. Scott attended Richard J. Reynolds High in Winston-Salem and then the University of North Carolina, joined the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity and worked at the student radio station, WXYC. After graduating in 1987 with a degree in speech communication, Stuart was hired by WPDE-TV in Florence, South Carolina.
"Think about that phrase, 'As cool as the other side of the pillow,'" said "SportsCenter" anchor Jay Harris of another of Scott's famous phrases. "It's a hot, stifling night. You're having trouble sleeping. But then you think to turn the pillow over, and, Wow, it's cool, and it feels so good.
"Well, that's who Stuart is. He is 'the other side of pillow,' the man who made sportscasting cool. God bless whoever it was who thought to rearrange the bedding at ESPN," Harris said.
Scott said that he came up with the phrase while working at WPDE in Florence. "People say I stole it from a movie," he told an interviewer in 1998, "but I first thought of that and said it on my first job ... I just liked it."
Scott is survived by his two daughters, Taelor, 19, and Sydni, 15.