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ESPN host and announcer dies suddenly

By the Orlando Sentinel (TNS) staff • Updated Aug 10, 2016 at 5:07 PM

John Saunders, a stalwart of ESPN coverage for nearly 30 years, is dead at the age of 61, the station announced Wednesday morning.

In addition to hosting studio programming and covering college football, basketball and the NHL, Saunders was also a mainstay of Sunday morning coverage as host of "The Sports Reporters."

"John was an extraordinary talent and his friendly, informative style has been a warm welcome to sports fans for decades," said John Skipper, president of ESPN and co-chairman of Disney Media Networks, in a statement.

Saunders joined ESPN in 1986 and went on to co-host "NFL Primetime." He also anchored "SportsCenter."

The details surrounding his death are unclear -- but officials say he died in New York and there is no suspicion of foul play, according to TMZ.com.

Saunders 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 dollars with 100 percent of the charity funding cancer research.

Saunders lived in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, with his wife and children.

Read more at espn.com.

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©2016 The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.)

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