Chris Mortensen Diagnosed With Throat Cancer

ESPN’s Chris Mortensen has throat cancer and will be off the air as he undergoes treatment.

According to the Bleacher Report, the senior NFL analyst said in a statement Friday that was he diagnosed with advanced throat cancer last week.

Mortensen said more tests were planned to determine a treatment plan, which would begin in ‘the very immediate future.’

“More than a week ago, I was diagnosed with a Stage IV throat cancer,” Mortensen said in a statement 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.

“Consequently, with the support and encouragement from ESPN president John Skipper and many others at ESPN, I am temporarily stepping away from my normal NFL coverage duties to better engage this opportunity to fight the good fight that is projected to affect almost 1.7 million Americans with new cases in 2016.

“I have many inspirational examples of men, women and children who have faced this very fight. 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.”

Chris Mortensen joined ESPN in 1991 after a career at several newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, where he was an investigative reporter and covered the Braves and Falcons and the NFL. He won the George Polk Award for reporting in 1987.

Chris Mortensen

Chris Mortensen

ESPN President John Skipper said in a statement that Mortensen has ‘the complete support of his entire ESPN family’ and that the network looks ‘forward to his return whenever he chooses.’

Last year, ESPN colleague Stuart Scott died after an extended battle with cancer. His public fight served as an inspiration to many and can do the same for Mortensen as he starts his own journey on the road he hopes will lead to a complete recovery.

The American Cancer Society estimates that about 15,520 new cases of cancer of the pharynx (throat) will occur in 2015 (12,380 in men and 3,140 in women). Only about 3,400 of these will start in the hypopharynx (about 2,725 in men and 675 in women).