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Chris Mortensen Takes Leave Of Absence For Throat Cancer


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Posted by Mike Florio on January 15, 2016, 3:55 PM EST
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ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, a pioneer in the sports-reporter-turned-TV-personality industry, has announced that he will be taking a leave of absence.

“More than a week ago, I was diagnosed with a Stage IV throat cancer,” Mortensen said in a statement issued by ESPN on Friday. “My focus shifted significantly to gathering information about the specifics of this cancer. The initial diagnosis was confirmed Friday and there is another test remaining that will determine the best possible treatment plan that will commence in the very immediate future.”

Mortensen added that he will be temporarily stepping away from his duties to focus on treatment for a disease that strikes 1.7 million Americans per year.

“I have many inspirational examples of men, women and children who have faced this very fight,” Mortensen said. “We all know somebody, right? I also have the love and prayers of my wife Micki, my family, my friends, colleagues and, most of all, my faith that serve as sources of tremendous strength. I have a peace about this and look forward to the battle.”

Mortensen joined ESPN in 1991, becoming a fixture on the network for the last quarter century. I recall looking forward to seeing his “Inside the Huddle” reports on SportsCenter in the days before the Internet, when it was difficult to find extra information about the teams of the NFL beyond the scraps that made it into local newspapers and the broad-brush, big stories that landed in USA Today.

We all indeed have known someone who has battled cancer, and we all now know someone else whose battle will inspire others who face the disease. Our thoughts and prayers will be with Chris and his family during this fight, and we look forward to seeing him back on the air as soon as possible.


not directly falcons related, but nfl in general. just want to say good luck mort, i am sure you have prayers from lots of people with you in your fight.

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I met Mort once in a mexican restaurant in Douglasville, GA - he went to First Baptist Church in Douglasville - my mother's church. Super nice guy. Hate to hear this news.

I looked up the survival rates for the different types of throat cancer -


not encouraging if you are at Stage 4 - which is the most advanced stage. Looks like there are 4 types and the five year survival rates depending on the type range from 24%-44%.

Hopefully Mort beats those odds - God Bless him and his family.

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Stage 4 is advanced, but it depends on the cancer and it's susceptibly to modern treatment which is literally changing by the month. Medicine can accomplish some amazing results from cancers which would have been certain death sentence 5 years ago. My prayer is for him to seek the best medical care and advise available; trust and be sustained by hope and peace.

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My sincere prayers and best wishes go out to him and his entire family. As horrible as that news is, one should never give up hope. My sister survived that exact diagnoses for 10 years living until she was 70 years old, and actually had a very active life during that time. Part of that was due to a brand new treatment (brand new in 2005) that dramatically improved her health. The researchers make these breakthroughs quite often.

From my own experience, his good attitude and a very strong support network is one of the most important factors in beating this disease.

Fight the good fight Chris, and God Bless You.

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