The sports reporting world was devastated to learn on Tuesday that one of its rising stars, ESPN reporter Edward Aschoff, died on his 34th birthday following a battle with pneumonia, People magazine reported.
Though no official cause of death has been announced for Aschoff just yet, he revealed on Dec. 4 that he had contracted pneumonia, which he described as the “absolute worst” illness he’d ever suffered.
People noted that, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the lung infection kills approximately 50,000 Americans every year.
Aschoff’s death rocks network
ESPN released a statement saying: “We are very sorry to have to share the devastating news of the tragic passing of friend and ESPN colleague Edward Aschoff. He died earlier today, his 34th birthday. Our thoughts are with his loved ones, including his fiancée, Katy.”
Rob King, senior vice president of the network, said in a separate statement: “Our friend Ed Aschoff, lovingly remembered by so many on this heartbreaking day, was a ray of light. He smiled with his entire being, loved his fiancée and family, and brought joy to the job. I hope you knew him, too.”
Countless other friends and colleagues similarly took to social media to pay tribute to the late reporter and recount what a great journalist and “even better person” he had been and also mentioned how sorely he would be missed.
A rising star at ESPN
ESPN reported that Aschoff was born and raised in Oxford, Mississippi and grew up as a fan of Ole Miss before attending college at the University of Florida, which helped explain his deep love for SEC football, the subject on which he cut his teeth reporting at the local and regional level prior to joining the national sports network as a reporter.
He began his tenure with ESPN in 2011 as an SEC blogger but had moved up the ranks to become a recognized staple of the network’s college football scene as a sideline reporter for both radio and television broadcasts.
“Ed was one of the smartest, brightest reporters I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with,” Lauren Reynolds, an executive editor at ESPN, said. “Watching him grow from our co-SEC reporter with Chris Low to a multiplatform national reporter was a treat.”
She went on: “For as good of a reporter Ed was, he was an even better person. He always put people first — those whose stories he told, and those who had the honor of working alongside him.”
Arguably the saddest aspect of Aschoff’s untimely death is the fact that he was set to be married in April in New Orleans to the love of his life, Katy, who had actually proposed to him in December 2018.
His death at just 34 years of age is a tragic reminder that nothing in life should be taken for granted, as it could all come to an end at any point due to an accident or illness, which is all the more reason everyone should cherish the ones they love and set aside petty grievances whenever possible.