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Legendary Sportscaster John Saunders Dies at 61

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"John was an extraordinary talent."

Sports journalist John Saunders attends ESPN The Party at Basketball City - Pier 36 - South Street on January 31, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images For ESPN)

Legendary ESPN anchor John Saunders has died at the age of 61, the sports network confirmed Wednesday.

"John was an extraordinary talent and his friendly, informative style has been a warm welcome to sports fans for decades," John Skipper, president of EPSN, said in a statement. "His wide range of accomplishments across numerous sports and championship events is among the most impressive this industry has ever seen."

"More importantly," Skipper added, "John was a beloved and devoted family man who cared deeply about people and causes, as evidenced by his long-standing efforts as a passionate board member for The V Foundation for Cancer Research."

Saunders' cause of death was not immediately clear.

It was just months ago, however, that ESPN signed Saunders to a multi-year contract extension.

Saunders, who was a native Canadian, joined ESPN in January 1986. Before that, he worked for WMAR-TV in Baltimore.

Saunders leaves behind his wife, Wanda, and two daughters, Aleah and Jenna.

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