John Saunders, a veteran on-air personality with ESPN, has passed away. He was 61.

A Canadian native, Saunders worked in a variety of roles for the cable network, covering college football, basketball, baseball and hockey, as well as hosting the ESPN's flagship program, SportsCenter. He also served as host of the Sunday morning show, The Sports Reporters.

"John was an extraordinary talent and his friendly, informative style has been a warm welcome to sports fans for decades," said ESPN President John Skipper. "He was one of the most significant and influential members of the ESPN family, as a colleague and mentor, and he will be sorely missed. Our thoughts are with his loved ones at this extremely difficult time."

Saunders, who was with ESPN since 1986, leaves behind a wife and two daughters.

His death hit the sports world hard, as evidenced by the tributes pouring in on social media.

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