‘I will fight with all my heart’: Dick Vitale, 82, announces he has lymphoma

Detroit News

Legendary college basketball broadcaster Dick Vitale has been diagnosed with cancer for the second time in less than three months.

Vitale made the revelation through his employer, ESPN.

He was diagnosed recently with lymphoma, after he was diagnosed with melanoma earlier this summer. The melanoma has been treated and cleared; the lymphoma, Vitale acknowledged, will be a tougher battle, with six months of chemotherapy and steroids.

“I will fight with all my heart,” Vitale, 82, wrote in his ESPN.com column Monday.

Vitale said doctors have told him the cancer has a 90% cure rate, and that he will continue working around his chemotherapy schedule.

“I consider myself very lucky,” Vitale wrote on ESPN.com. “I’ve seen firsthand the devastation that cancer can have on families, on children, and on all of our loved ones. It can bring you to your knees. It’s physically and emotionally exhausting. It robs you of so many things, including life itself for some of the most unfortunate patients. I never lose sight of that, and that’s why I feel so lucky.”

Vitale has long held cancer charities close, his annual gala raising nearly $40 million for pediatric cancer research. The gala raised more than $7 million in 2020.

“In my battle, I think of all the courageous kids that I have gotten to know and I want all of them to know (after watching their battles with their cancers and handling the chemo/radiation) they inspire and motivate me to take on this biggest fight I have ever faced,” Vitale wrote.


Vitale has long been one of the faces of college basketball, for his high-energy work on marquee broadcasts. Before his 40-plus years working at ESPN, he was head coach of the Pistons in 1978-79, after he was head coach at University of Detroit from 1973-77. The court at Detroit Mercy’s Calihan Hall is named after Vitale.

He is in the Basketball Hall of Fame and College Basketball Hall of Fame.

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