Viewers of ESPN and fans of the National Football League will be heartbroken to learn of the shocking death of a top sports reporter.
The New York Post reported Thursday that “ESPN NFL reporter Vaughn McClure died this week at his apartment in Atlanta.”
The veteran sports journalist was just 48, according to the Post.
“We all loved Vaughn”
According to the Post, McClure had been covering the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons for the last several years after joining ESPN’s team in 2013. He had been assigned to cover the Chicago Bears for the Chicago Tribune prior to that.
A Chicago native, McClure attended Northern Illinois University and graduated in 1994, according to ESPN. He also had connections, through previous sports reporting jobs, with the NBA’s Chicago Bulls and the NCAA’s Notre Dame Univesity and Fresno State.
“We all loved Vaughn,” ESPN’s senior deputy editor for digital NFL coverage, John Pluym, said in a statement, according to the New York Post.
“He had a heart of gold,” Pluym added. “He was so helpful to our reporters. 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.”
“An earnest, thoughtful reporter”
According to the Post, Pluym also said McClure was “always a joy” to speak with on the phone.
“I loved how you could just sense the excitement in his voice for being able to cover the Falcons for ESPN. We will all miss him greatly,” he said. “And I’ll end this the way Vaughn ended every phone call with a colleague: ‘Appreciate you. Love you.’ We all loved him, too.”
ESPN’s senior director of content strategy and distribution, Patricia Mays, is the one who brought McClure on board with the network. In a statement after his death, she said McClure was able to forge lasting relationships with both the athletes he covered and fellow journalists he worked with.
It’s a sentiment that was echoed by the Falcons themselves.
“We are saddened to learn of the passing of ESPN’s Vaughn McClure,” a statement from the team said, according to ESPN. “He was an earnest, thoughtful reporter who had a passion for his craft and the relationships he held. He will be missed dearly and we are holding his family, friends and associates in our thoughts and prayers.”