Frank Deford, the legendary sports writer and commentator, died Sunday in Key West, Florida, his wife confirmed to The Washington Post. He was 78.  

Deford was a contributing writer at Sports Illustrated, where he got his start in 1962. He retired from NPR’s “Morning Edition” earlier this month after giving his 1,656th commentary. 

He was also a correspondent for HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel.” 

Former President Barack Obama awarded Deford the National Humanities medal in 2013. Obama said Deford transformed “how we think about sports.” 

Sports columnist Bill Simmons paid tribute to Deford on Twitter with a link to his favorite story the sports writer wrote. 

“I loved reading Frank Deford in SI and I loved The National. Sad to hear he passed away,” Simmons wrote on Twitter. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 


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