The sports world grieves for ESPN host John Saunders – dead at 61

John Saunders, a longtime ESPN host who served the network for nearly 30, years was found unresponsive at his home. Tributes are pouring in for the highly respected host.

The Saunders family released a statement on his passing:

“This tragic news brings us unspeakable sorrow. John was the patriarch of our family, and we can’t believe he is gone. We are sincerely touched by the outpouring of support and sadness, which is a reflection of the character and integrity that defined him.”

John Saunders’ cause of death is still unknown

While a detective was sent to investigate Saunders’ passing, there were no signs of foul play. The cause of death is unknown at the current time and is still being investigated.

First responders went to Saunders residence around 4:00 a.m. and attempted to resuscitate him, but were unable to do so.

NBA Commissioner releases statement on Saunders’ passing

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver released a statement regarding the passing of John Saunders:

“We are deeply saddened by the passing of John Saunders. As the studio host of NBA Shootaround, a play-by-play announcer for nationally televised NBA and WNBA games and one of the Toronto Raptors’ first television voices, John was a vital member of the NBA family for more than two decades and was a friendly and familiar face to our players and fans.

Saunders’ friends share their grief on Twitter

John Saunders was born in Canada

Saunders was born in Toronto, Ontario in 1955. He was the original voice of the Toronto Raptors. His career started in Canada, where he served as news director for CKNS Radio. He started covering sports later in 1978 at CKNY-TV, later moving to Toronto’s CITY-TV.

Leo Rautins who was Saunders’ colleague on Raptors broadcasts, says Saunders was “very proud to be Canadian.”

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