ESPN’s Dick Vitale reveals he has vocal cord cancer

HOUSTON, TEXAS - APRIL 03: College basketball announcer Dick Vitale on air during the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament Final Four Championship Game between the Connecticut Huskies and the San State Aztecs. Diego at NRG Stadium on April 03, 2023 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

Dick Vitale was diagnosed with melanoma and lymphoma in 2021. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

Dick Vitale revealed on Wednesday that he has vocal cord cancer.

This is Vitale’s third cancer diagnosis. The legendary 84-year-old ESPN college basketball announcer was diagnosed with melanoma in the summer of 2021 and later diagnosed with lymphoma months later. Vitale announced in August that he was cancer free.

He said in his statement Wednesday that he plans to “fight like hell” to be back calling college basketball games for ESPN.

“I am sorry to share that I received some difficult news today from Dr. Zeitels regarding my throat,” Vitale wrote. “Tests on the tissue they removed showed I had vocal cord cancer and would need six weeks of radiation therapy to cure it. Dr Z tells me he has a cure rate extremely high and that radiotherapy, and no longer surgery, is the best course.

“I plan to fight like hell to be ready to call the games when the college hoops season kicks off in the fall. Dr. Z thinks this scenario is entirely possible. I want to say that I was so touched by the tweets, texts, notes and prayers and I will ask you all to keep sending positive vibes.

You can read Vitale’s full statement below:

Vitale was also diagnosed with vocal cord dysplasia in 2022 while undergoing treatment for lymphoma. He was forced to pull ESPN out of the second half of the 2021-22 season to rest his voice. Vitale said his vocal cords had become inflamed and would need surgery.

His first show in the 2021-22 season was a matchup between No. 1 Gonzaga and No. 2 UCLA. Vitale was overwhelmed with emotion to be sidelined for this game after finding out he had been diagnosed with lymphoma a month earlier.

If all goes well, we’ll see and hear Vitale on the sidelines again when the season kicks off in a few months.

Vitale has been with ESPN since the network began broadcasting college basketball in 1979. He called the first ESPN college basketball game and has been a mainstay on the network ever since, as he became one of the broadcasters the most iconic of all sports.

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