Chicago sports media colleagues were stunned and saddened Thursday to learn of the death of ESPN reporter and former Chicago sportswriter Vaughn McClure. He was 48.
McClure died at home in Atlanta, according to ESPN, where he covered the Atlanta Falcons for NFL Nation. No cause of death was released.
The Chicago native and graduate of Northern Illinois University joined ESPN in 2013 after working for the Chicago Tribune as Chicago Bears beat writer. He also covered the Chicago Bulls in postseason.
Earlier McClure covered Notre Dame football for the Sun-Times and Fresno State basketball for The Fresno Bee. He also worked at the South Bend Tribune and DeKalb Daily Chronicle.
An outpouring of tributes to McClure from Chicago media personalities followed the announcement of his passing:
Under a photo of himself with McClure on the set of "Chicago Tribune Live," David Kaplan wrote: "I cannot stop staring at this picture. Vaughn McClure was one of our favorite people to have on 'Chicago Tribune Live/Sports Talk Live.' He was always so much fun. Man, I can’t believe he is gone. May God bless you forever my friend."
David Haugh tweeted: "From South Bend through Chicago till our last conversation Tuesday, Vaughn McClure was uncommonly considerate, effortlessly charismatic and one of my best friends. He’d be so proud to see the outpouring. And then he’d ask how to improve his writing. RIP, buddy. You’ll be missed."
Brad Biggs tweeted: "Terribly saddened by the passing of former colleague and good friend Vaughn McClure. He had an incredible gift for getting people to open up to him and was a delight to be around. Rest in peace, Vaughn."
Dan Pompei tweeted: "Vaughn McClure had a great gift of being able to connect with people. That's why so many of us are hurting today. When you were friends with Vaughn though, you were friends forever."
Brian Urlacher, former Bears linebacker and Pro Football Hall of Famer, wrote: "Today I was very saddened to hear about the passing of my dear friend Vaughn McClure. We became fast friends when he was covering the Bears. He had a big heart and was one of the nicest guys you will ever meet. You will be missed."
In a statement from ESPN, John Pluym, senior deputy editor for digital NFL coverage, said: "We all loved Vaughn. He had a heart of gold. He was so helpful to our reporters. In the last few hours, we've heard so many stories about how Vaughn had helped them with a story or how he put in a good word for them with a coach or player.
"Talking to Vaughn on the phone was always a joy. I loved how you could just sense the excitement in his voice for being able to cover the Falcons for ESPN. We will all miss him greatly. And I'll end this the way Vaughn ended every phone call with a colleague: 'Appreciate you. Love you.' We all loved him, too."
Thursday's comment of the day: Alexa Levin Markoff: Candace Jordan is a tremendous asset to Chicago area nonprofits. She is a wonderful and caring woman. Not having her column in the Tribune is a serious error in judgment. The nonprofit community needs a strong voice and we had that in Candace. I’m sad to not read her column again.