- (Photo: CNN via The Christian Post)
CNN's first sports anchor, Nick Charles, died Saturday of cancer. He was 64.
Charles had been battling bladder cancer since 2009 and according to CNN, the sportscaster died peacefully in Sante Fe, N.M.
His story of trying to make the most of the last years of his life with his wife and five-year-old daughter had captured the hearts of Americans, including the pastor of America's largest church, Joel Osteen.
Osteen had called him earlier this year to offer his prayers.
Charles gained fame after joining CNN in 1980. He co-hosted "Sports Tonight" with Fred Hickman, covering nearly every sporting event for two decades. He left CNN in 2001 and went on to cover sports at other networks until he was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer.
While his face and winning smile was well-known in American households, more people became familiar with him these past few months as CNN released interviews and provided the public with a more intimate look into his life while battling terminal cancer.
Knowing he had little time left, Charles recorded video messages for his daughter, Giovanna, to view as she grew up.
"Happy birthday to you ... Giovanna Charles the girl daddy loves with all his heart," he says in one of the videos, with his face showing the obvious signs of grueling chemotherapy treatment.
He said of the videos, "This is a gift from God where I need to build these memories for her, so that I'm not a blur. I feel that when I go, that I'm going to prepare a place for my daughter and my wife. I'm going to be in their heart and soul. I tell them that every day."
While facing death, Charles had one message for the public: "Never give up on life."
"It’s imperfect, we’re going to have our huge adversities, we’re going to have our little annoyances, but in terms of what happens to us is 20 percent, in terms of how I react to it is 80 percent," he told CNN.
Along with his wife Cory and daughter Giovanna, Charles is survived by three other children from two previous marriages, Jason, 39; Melissa, 36; and Katie, 24.