ESPN Anchor Stuart Scott’s Moving Speech

Stuart Scott, the ESPN anchor who died of cancer today at age 49, delivered a speech in July of last year that moved me to tears.

The speech was raw and honest—it was clear that he knew death was upon him—but he used the moment to uplift others and acknowledge those who carried his fight when he couldn’t.

I particularly appreciated his words about “beating” cancer. Language matters, and I always bristle a little when I hear well-intentioned people using lines like, “She lost her battle with cancer” or “He beat cancer.” Those phrases have always implied to me that people with enough character and will can beat the disease while those lacking those traits will inevitably die. That, of course, is not the case.

Stuart Scott

Two decades ago, basketball coach Jim Valvano offered seven unforgettable words as he, too, was dying: “Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.” In this speech, Scott added a few important lines that I hope are similarly remembered decades from now: “When you die, it does not mean that you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by why you live, how you live, and the manner in which you live.”

You’ll find his complete speech from July 2014 below.

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