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Frank Deford, a former Sports Illustrated writer who started in 1962, HBO “Real Sports” contributor and NPR commentator has passed away at 78 years old, per Washington Post.

Deford called it quits from NPR after 37 years on the job back in early May.

Here’s what he said, per Sporting News:

“I have survived so long because I’ve been blessed with talented and gracious colleagues, and with a top brass who let me choose my topics every week and then allowed me to express opinions that were not always popular. Well, someone had to stand up to the yackety-yak soccer cult.

“And perhaps just as important, I’ve been blessed with you, with a broad and intelligent audience — even if large portions thereof haven’t necessarily given a hoot about sports. Nothing has pleased me so much as when someone — usually a woman — writes me or tells me that she’s appreciated sports more because NPR allowed me to treat sports seriously, as another branch on the tree of culture.”

He was awarded the National Humanities Award in 2013 by President Barack Obama.

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