Saunders hosted studio and play-by-play programming for ESPN for nearly 30 years.
He joined ESPN from WMAR in Baltimore in December 1986 to anchor SportsCenter, but got involved in much more for the sports network.
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Saunders became a voice on college basketball, the WNBA and hosted ESPN's coverage of the Stanley Cup playoffs from 1993-2004.
He worked on coverage of the World Series and Major League Baseball All-Star game, as well as college football, and hosting The Sports Reporters.
Born in Canada, Saunders was an all-star defenseman in the junior hockey leagues of Montreal and played at Western Michigan before becoming one of the most prominent broadcasters of his time.
Saunders was a founding member of The V Foundation for Cancer Research and served on the board of directors.
"John was an extraordinary talent and his friendly, informative style has been a warm welcome to sports fans for decades. His wide range of accomplishments across numerous sports and championship events is among the most impressive this industry has ever seen," said ESPN presidentJohn Skipper. "More importantly, John was a beloved and devoted family man who cared deeply about people and causes, as evidenced by his long-standing efforts as a passionate board member for The V Foundation for Cancer Research. He was one of the most significant and influential members of the ESPN family, as a colleague and mentor, and he will be sorely missed. Our thoughts are with his loved ones at this extremely difficult time."
He is survived by wife Wanda and daughters Aleah and Jenna.
Information from ESPN was used in this post.