ESPN Icon Dick Vitale Faces Fourth Cancer Battle with Optimism

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In Bristol, Connecticut, the world of sports reporting and college basketball is rallying around a familiar and beloved face. Revered ESPN analyst Dick Vitale, whose passionate commentary has been the backbone of countless college basketball broadcasts, has taken to social media to share that he is once again facing a battle with cancer — his fourth.

Vitale, known affectionately within the sports world as “Dickie V,” disclosed that a recent biopsy detected cancerous cells in a lymph node located in his neck. The next step in his treatment journey is surgery, pencilled into the diary for this upcoming Tuesday.

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Relying on the power of positivity, Vitale said, “With all the prayers I have received and the unwavering support of my family, friends, and ESPN colleagues, I am determined to win this battle.” He shared these uplifting words on X, the social media platform that has replaced Twitter.

At age 85, Vitale is no stranger to the harrowing journey that is a cancer diagnosis. Previously, he has vanquished melanoma, lymphoma, and an aggressive form of vocal cord cancer, which necessitated six weeks of gruelling radiation treatments just last year.

Vitale’s tenure on ESPN stretches back to 1979, the very year the sports network made its debut. Not only was he the voice of ESPN’s premier college basketball broadcast, but Vitale has also helped raise substantial funds for cancer research, making his recent diagnosis an irony many find hard to digest.

A particularly poignant moment in his long relationship with ESPN was helping his friend, Jim Valvano, to the stage at the 1993 ESPYs. Valvano, who gave the famed “Don’t Give Up” speech, succumbed to a rare type of cancer, adenocarcinoma, less than two months later. Vitale’s current fight with the illness adds another poignant chapter to his long history with both the disease and the sports world that he loves.