Kristin Spodobalski, the girlfriend of the much-admired ESPN anchor Stuart Scott, who died of cancer Sunday morning at the age of 49, was reportedly by his side until the very end.
“ESPN and everyone in the sports world have lost a true friend and a uniquely inspirational figure in Stuart Scott,” said ESPN president John Skipper. “Who engages in mixed martial arts training in the midst of chemotherapy treatments? Who leaves a hospital procedure to return to the set? His energetic and unwavering devotion to his family and to his work while fighting the battle of his life left us in awe, and he leaves a void that can never be replaced.”
Scott’s cancer was first diagnosed when his appendix was removed in 2007. It recurred four years later and again in 2013. He never revealed what kind of cancer he had.
— Tricia's Troops, Inc (@TriciasTroops) April 4, 2014
Along with Spodobalski, 26, Scott is survived by his parents, a brother and two sisters, ex-wife Kim Scott and daughters Taelor, 19, and Sydni, 15.
"The best thing I have ever done, the best thing I will ever do, is be a dad to Taelor and Sydni," he said in July at the 2014 ESPYS, where he was given the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance. "I can't ever give up because I can't leave my daughters."
One amazingly strong man surrounded by mighty women. pic.twitter.com/gVLd5WlNxQ
— Kristin (@kspodo) July 15, 2014
"Taelor and Sydni, I love you guys more than I will ever be able to express," he said. "You two are my heartbeat. I am standing on this stage here tonight because of you."
Take a moment and just breathe. Observe your surroundings. Live in the moment. #bepresent
— Kristin (@kspodo) October 23, 2014
"Your life is made up of two dates and a dash. Make the most of the dash" be present. Challenge yourself. Grow. Love. pic.twitter.com/ll3y9fqLym
— Kristin (@kspodo) September 12, 2014
During his moving and inspiring speech at the ESPYS, Scott remarked that fighting cancer is never a solo undertaking.
"When you get too tired to fight, lay down, get some rest and let someone else fight for you," said Scott. "This whole 'fight this journey' thing is not a solo venture. This is something that requires support."
"I can't do this 'don't give up' thing by myself," said Scott, explaining that he had just recently left the hospital where he had liver complications, kidney failure and underwent four operations in the span of seven days.
"I couldn't fight," said Scott, as the emotion of the moment remembered rendered him momentarily speechless. "But my doctors and nurses could. The people that I love — my friends and family — they could fight. My girlfriend, who slept on a very uncomfortable hospital cot by my side, every single night, she could fight."
— Tricia's Troops, Inc (@TriciasTroops) April 5, 2014
Spodobalski, an insurance professional who works for UnitedHealth Group, reportedly continued her vigil beside the man that she and so many others loved and was with him when he died, joining the throng of loved ones caring for him throughout his journey, just as he cared for millions in fighting the way he did.
“When you die, it does not mean that you lose to cancer,” Scott told the audience in July. “You beat cancer by how you live, why you live, and in the manner in which you live.”
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 4, 2015