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ESPN anchor, former WMAR sports anchor John Saunders dead at 61

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Posted at 12:08 PM, Aug 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-11 07:29:45-04

ESPN anchor and former WMAR sports anchor John Saunders has died, ESPN reported.

Saunders worked for WMAR-TV from 1982 until 1986, the year he started with ESPN. He went on to serve a number of different roles for ESPN throughout his career. He was an anchor for SportsCenter and the host of The Sports Reporters.

ESPN anchor Hannah Storm reported the news of his death live for ESPN on Wednesday morning.

The Canadian covered college football, basketball and NHL for ESPN and was one of the most familiar faces for ESPN viewers.

ESPN issued the following statement for a story on its website. 

"John was an extraordinary talent and his friendly, informative style has been a warm welcome to sports fans for decades," John Skipper, president of ESPN and co-chairman of Disney Media Networks, 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, 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.

"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."

*WMAR Staff contributed to this report.