ESPN’s Chris Mortensen Has Throat Cancer, Taking Leave Of Absence From Network

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One of ESPN’s most notable reporters is preparing for a battle with cancer.

ESPN NFL reporter Chris Mortensen revealed Friday he’s been diagnosed with Stage IV throat cancer. According to Sports Illustrated, Mortensen is temporarily stepping down from his ESPN work to battle the disease.

Mortensen issued this statement, per SI.com:

?More than a week ago, I was diagnosed with a Stage IV throat cancer. My focus shifted significantly to gathering information about the specifics of this cancer. The initial diagnosis was confirmed Friday and there is another test remaining that will determine the best possible treatment plan that will commence in the very immediate future. Consequently, with the support and encouragement from ESPN president John Skipper and many others at ESPN, I am temporarily stepping away from my normal NFL coverage duties to better engage this opportunity to fight the good fight that is projected to affect almost 1.7 million Americans with new cases in 2016.

?I have many inspirational examples of men, women and children who have faced this very fight. We all know somebody, right? I also have the love and prayers of my wife Micki, my family, my friends, colleagues and, most of all, my faith that serve as sources of tremendous strength. I have a peace about this and look forward to the battle.?

Mortensen, 64, has been at ESPN since 1991 and has emerged as one of the network’s top news breakers. As soon as the news broke on ESPN, an outpouring of support came in for Mortensen from across the sports world.

?It was jarring, a professional and personal whammy,? ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter told SI.com. “I consider him one of my closest friends. If I have issues in my life, he knows everything. He keeps upbeat, grounded, a great friend, a great sounding board, I love the guy.”

Thumbnail photo via Brian Spurlock/USA TODAY Sports Images

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