ESPN NFL reporter Vaughn McClure died this week at age 48.
His cause of death has not yet been revealed. The company confirmed Thursday that the Chicago native was found dead at his home near Atlanta.
McClure joined ESPN in 2013 and most recently was the Atlanta Falcons reporter as part of NFL Nation. He also contributed to ESPN’s television, radio and digital coverage.
“We are saddened to learn of the passing of ESPN’s Vaughn McClure,” Falcons president Rich McKay said in a statement. “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,” he added.
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“We all loved Vaughn,” said John Pluym, senior deputy editor for digital NFL coverage at ESPN. “He had a heart of gold. 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.”
Pluym added: “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. 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.”
Hall of Famer Brian Urlacher and ESPN NFL Nation reporter Turron Davenport were among the fans, athletes and colleagues who posted tributes and condolences on social media.
“Vaughn was an awesome guy. So many times I can remember him reaching out to me to make sure I was all good. Rest in power my guy. You will absolutely be missed,” Davenport tweeted.
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“People will probably remember how Vaughn was able to connect and develop trusting relationships with many of the athletes he covered, or how diligent he was about deadlines, or the countless times he volunteered to help out a colleague on another sport,” said Patricia Mays, senior director of content strategy and distribution at ESPN. “But what I respected most was how committed he was to continually improving. One of the last emails I received from him was asking for feedback. He wrote: ‘Would love to talk to you after the season about how I can get better at a lot of things. I want to be great at this job.’”
Prior to joining the ESPN family, McClure covered the Bears for the Chicago Tribune. He also worked at the Chicago Sun-Times, Fresno Bee and South Bend Tribune, according to the report. He graduated from Northern Illinois University in 1994.
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