Nick Charles, one of the great names and great guys in sports broadcasting, died early today in Santa Fe, N.M., after a two-year struggle with cancer. He was 64.
Charles was the first sports anchor hired by CNN and for a long time was paired with Fred Hickman on a daily program on the global, 24-hour news network. He was well known for his coverage of boxing and once described a Mike Tyson early-round knockout as “not boxing but surgery, and heavyweight champion Mike Tyson wielded the knife.”
Colleagues in the sports broadcasting industry have described Charles as someone who ideally fits the role of “what you see is what you get.” His close associates said he was the same, kind, caring, full-of-life person on or off the TV set.
In a statement issued today, CNN Worldwide president Jim Walton said Charles helped put CNN on the map. His passing is a loss to CNN, to the sports world and to fans and friends everywhere, Walton said.
Charles had been with CNN since 1980, when the network began.