"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."— ESPN anchor Stuart Scott, accepting the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance at the ESPY Awards in July 2014, quoted in Chris Strauss, “ESPN's Stuart Scott Dies After Lengthy Battle With Cancer,” USA Today, Jan. 4, 2015
This past Sunday morning, while channel-surfing, I was stunned to see the normally cheerful ESPN sportscaster Hannah Storm moved to tears. It was unlikely to be by an athlete or coach she knew in a professional capacity, I thought. This must have been someone else she had grown far closer to—a work colleague, even a friend. So it proved to be.
I never had the opportunity to watch Stuart Scott. Now, following his death at age 49, I am sorry I missed seeing him. Under the most excruciating circumstances, it appears, he showed the kind of grace that other sportscasters spoke about so glibly in championship games. His death from cancer on Sunday morning, not long before Ms. Storm went on the air, might have removed him from the athletic scene. But it did not erase the shining example of the way he lived his life.
Mr. Scott was used to arduous struggles with his health—following an injury to his left eye in 2002 while filming a story about the New York Jets, he had to adapt to making his right eye the dominant one. This meant difficulty when he read from teleprompters, but nothing like the debilitation he faced from cancer the last seven years. Amazingly, however, he would go train at a mixed martial—arts gym right after a chemotherapy session.
Despite an intense on-air schedule he still frequently managed to sustain amid his mounting physical distress, Scott never forgot that “the best thing I will ever do” was be a parent. He leaves behind two daughters—Taelor, 19,and Sydni, 15—and an ebullient presence that, it is clear, those who knew him will never forget.
For a fond reminiscence from a onetime ESPN colleague on what he meant to the station, see this article by Jean McCormick for The Huffington Post on his "amazing grace."