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NBA sideline reporter Sager dies at 65

Turner Sports NBA sideline reporter Craig Sager has died at the age of 65, the network announced Thursday, Dec. 15. Sager waged a public battle with cancer over the past two years after originally being diagnosed with leukemia in 2014. The cancer...

Sideline reporter Craig Sager interviews Houston Rockets head coach J.B. Bickerstaff March 31 at Toyota Center in Houston. Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Sideline reporter Craig Sager interviews Houston Rockets head coach J.B. Bickerstaff March 31 at Toyota Center in Houston. Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Turner Sports NBA sideline reporter Craig Sager has died at the age of 65, the network announced Thursday, Dec. 15.

Sager waged a public battle with cancer over the past two years after originally being diagnosed with leukemia in 2014.

The cancer went into remission after a bone marrow transplant but returned in March 2015.

Sager, who was always recognizable on TNT's NBA broadcasts by his colorful wardrobe, re-entered the hospital last month.

"Craig Sager was a beloved member of the Turner family for more than three decades and he has been a true inspiration to all of us," Turner president David Levy said in a statement. "There will never be another Craig Sager. His incredible talent, tireless work ethic and commitment to his craft took him all over the world covering sports.

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"While he will be remembered fondly for his colorful attire and the TNT sideline interviews he conducted with NBA coaches and players, it's the determination, grace and will to live he displayed during his battle with cancer that will be his lasting impact. Our thoughts and prayers are with Craig's wife, Stacy, and the entire Sager family during this difficult time. We will forever be Sager Strong."

NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced that teams will be observing a moment of silence in Sager's memory prior to games.

"I-along with the entire NBA family-am deeply saddened by the passing of Craig Sager," Silver said in a statement. "Craig was as vital to the NBA as the players and coaches. A true original and an essential voice on Turner Sports' NBA coverage for 26 seasons, Craig chronicled some of the most memorable moments in league history and was a ubiquitous presence with his splashy suits and equally colorful personality.

"Craig earned widespread respect for his insightful reporting and inspired so many most recently with his courage. Our hearts go out to his wife, Stacy; his children, Kacy, Craig Jr., Krista, Riley and Ryan; and his friends and colleagues."

Earlier this week, Sager was inducted into the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame.

Sager worked his first NBA Finals game last June due to TNT's partnership with ESPN. Shortly thereafter, he received the Jimmy V Perseverance Award at the 2016 ESPYs and delivered a moving speech.

"Whatever I might've imagined a terminal diagnosis would do to my spirit," said Sager, "it's summoned quite the opposite-the greatest appreciation for life itself.

"So I will never give up. And I will never give in. I will continue to keep fighting, sucking the marrow out of life, as life sucks the marrow out of me. I will live my life full of love and full of fun. It's the only way I know how."

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Sager also was known for his in-game exchanges with San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, who isn't a big fan of being interviewed during a contest.

Sager worked in broadcasting for 40 years, including three decades for Turner.

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