ESPN reporter Vaughn McClure has died. He was 48.
McClure died at his home near Atlanta, Georgia, this week, ESPN announced on Thursday. The reporter's cause of death was not revealed.
McClure covered the NFL for ESPN, and was a beat reporter for the Atlanta Falcons, contributing to both TV and radio coverage of the team, including their appearance at the Super Bowl in 2017.
"We all loved Vaughn. He had a heart of gold. He was so helpful to our reporters," said ESPN's senior deputy editor for digital NFL coverage John Pluym in a statement. "In the last few hours, we've heard so many stories about how Vaughn had helped them with a story or how he put in a good word for them with a coach or player."
"Talking to Vaughn on the phone was always a joy. I loved how you could just sense the excitement in his voice for being able to cover the Falcons for ESPN," Pluym added. "We will all miss him greatly. And I'll end this the way Vaughn ended every phone call with a colleague: 'Appreciate you. Love you.' We all loved him, too."
Several of McClure's colleagues shared tributes on Twitter, remembering his friendliness and kindness.
"ESPN’s NFL Nation Reporter for the Atlanta Falcons, Vaughn McClure, died at his apartment in Atlanta," wrote ESPN's Adam Schefter. "What a nice man he was. McClure was 48. Rest In Peace."
"Every day as an NFL reporter was better if you got to interact with Vaughn McClure. Speechless. RIP @vxmcclure23," wrote NFL Network reporter Tom Pelissero.
Jamison Hensley, who covers the Baltimore Ravens for ESPN, wrote, "Unbelievably sad news about Vaughn McClure, a great colleague at ESPN and an even greater person."
"Vaughn McClure made you feel like a celebrity every time you saw him," shared ESPN's Dan Graziano. "I simply cannot believe he is gone. Absolutely crushing."
"Absolutely crushed to hear the news about Vaughn McClure," said Mike Conti, an Atlanta radio host. "I appreciated his friendship and our talks about family. I know he will be eager to see his father again."
McClure's father died earlier this year, and in June the reporter penned an emotional tribute to his dad shared on Instagram. The tribute was McClure's last post before his own death.
"I’m so glad God allowed me to spend extensive time with you before you joined Him up there," McClure wrote on Father's Day, which was just days before his dad's birthday. "You’re not missing anything down here, actually. This world is messed up. For me, I’m still trying to get over the depression of losing you, Mom, Mark, & Nona."
"With my big sis dying at age 38 and lil bro at 27, I wonder sometimes how much time I’ve got left," McClure continued. "I want to live long. I’ve told myself no matter what, I want to honor the memories of all four of you while I’m alive. The only way to do that is to give everything I have no matter what obstacles I encounter."
McClure wrote that sports brought him and his dad "closer together," and said his dad "set the example of how to be a strong black man."
Before joining ESPN in 2013, McClure, a graduate of Northern Illinois University, covered the Bears and Bulls for the Chicago Tribune. He also previously covered football and basketball for the Chicago Sun-Times and the Fresno Bee.
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