Edward Aschoff, ESPN reporter, dies of pneumonia on 34th birthday

Edward Aschoff, ESPN reporter, dies of pneumonia on 34th birthday

His death is an emotional blow both to those colleagues and to the network, which continues cultivating new on-air talent to replace the retiring generation of ESPN veterans who helped build its reputation as the “worldwide leader in sports.”

Aschoff contracted pneumonia covering Ohio State’s 56-27 victory over archival Michigan on Nov. 30, according to his Instagram page. He also tweeted about the illness, describing himself as someone “who never gets sick and has a very good immune system.”

Aschoff grew up in Oxford, Miss., where his father was a professor at the University of Mississippi and his mother was a special education public school teacher. He attended the University of Florida, where he studied journalism and played bass drum for the school’s “Pride of the Sunshine” marching band.

Upon graduating in 2008, he covered Gators football, basketball and baseball for the Gainesville Sun and joined ESPN in 2011 to blog about the Southeastern Conference. He rose quickly through the ranks and relocated from Atlanta to Los Angeles in 2017 to take on a national role that included more television appearances, while also working as a TV and radio sideline reporter during football broadcasts.

“Ed was one of the smartest, brightest reporters I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with,” ESPN Executive Editor Lauren Reynolds said in a statement. “Watching him grow from our co-SEC reporter with Chris Low to a multiplatform national reporter was a treat. For as good of a reporter Ed was, he was an even better person. He always put people first — those whose stories he told, and those who had the honor of working alongside him.

“The outpouring of love and support from those whose lives he touched has been overwhelming and is a testament to the light he brought to this world.”

He developed an encyclopedic knowledge of the top restaurants and college-town haunts during each road trip, according to co-workers. His favorite spot was in his hometown, the Ajax Diner in Oxford. He was set to be married in April to his fiancee Katy Berteau in New Orleans.

Aschoff covered three of the four teams in the College Football Playoffs this year, No. 1 Louisiana State, No. 2 Ohio State and No. 4 Oklahoma, and likely would have reported on Saturday’s national semifinals.

Tributes from figures around sports media arrived on Christmas morning.

Southern California Coach Clay Helton opened his Tuesday news conference offering condolences to the Aschoff family.

“He was nothing but first class to this organization and always to me,” Helton said. “Ed, you’ll be missed.”

Others described him as a “truly wonderful human,” a “beautiful young man” and someone who “made the world a better place.”

“He smiled with his entire being, loved his fiancee and family, and brought joy to the job,” ESPN Senior Vice President Rob King tweeted. “I hope you knew him, too.”

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