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ESPN Sportscaster Stuart Scott Dies At 49

ARUN RATH, HOST:

It's been an exciting weekend in the NFL Playoffs, but there was a sadness pervading ESPN's broadcast today. Treasured colleague Stuart Scott died this morning after a long battle with cancer.

Scott had been a host of ESPN SportsCenter and Monday Night Countdown but his influence extends far beyond the world of sports. Scott demonstrated that he could be a huge success broadcasting to a wide audience without trying to sound like a white man or like a white man's idea of a black man. A number of people chafed at what was called his hip-hop sensibility, but the vast majority of viewers loved it. And beyond the race factor, Stuart Scott showed everyone you don't have to water down your personality to be a serious broadcaster. After Scott hit the scene, it seemed like everybody had to have a catchphrase. But no one could deliver them like Stuart Scott.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPORTS BROADCAST)

STUART SCOTT: Call Conoco butter 'cause he is on a roll.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPORTS BROADCAST)

SCOTT: This kid is as cool as the other side of the pillow.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPORTS BROADCAST)

SCOTT: Derek Jeter in first. Boo yah. Alex Rodriguez, second.

RATH: In his final years and days, Stuart Scott inspired cancer survivors, getting through multiple rounds of chemotherapy while engaging in a punishing fitness routine based on mixed martial arts and working whenever he could. Few people could turn a phrase like Stuart Scott, so it seems appropriate to leave you with his own words from a speech he gave this summer that he seemed to know could serve as his own eulogy.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPEECH)

SCOTT: 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 live.

(APPLAUSE)

SCOTT: So live - live. Fight like hell. And when you get too tired to fight, then lay down and rest and let somebody else fight for you.

RATH: ESPN anchor Stuart Scott. He died this morning at the age of 49. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.