Fred McLeod, the Cleveland Cavaliers‘ announcer, died Monday night, the team announced. He was 67.

The Cleveland-area native had been the team’s television play-by-play announcer since 2006.

The Cavs said McLeod died suddenly Monday night but did not elaborate. They called him a “great friend and teammate” and a “heart-felt ambassador.”

McLeod grew up in the Cleveland area, the city’s sports teams in his blood. After LeBron James and the Cavs stormed back from a 3-1 deficit to beat the Golden State Warriors for the title three years ago, McLeod called the game’s final seconds and then broke down in tears.

It was the first championship for a Cleveland team since 1964.

James expressed his condolences on Twitter: “May you rest in Paradise my friend!”

Before joining the Cavs, McLeod was the Detroit Pistons‘ announcer for 22 seasons. He also called games for the Detroit Lions and Tigers.

“It is with true sadness that we mourn the passing of Fred McLeod, who we were fortunate to have return as the television voice of Lions preseason football earlier this year,” the Lions said via statement. “Fred brought an energy to our broadcasts this summer and demonstrated the same passion for our team that he had for Detroit throughout his broadcasting career.

“The entire Detroit Lions organization extends its heartfelt sympathies and condolences to his wife, Beth, his family and members of the TV broadcast community he helped mentor for more than four decades.”

McLeod spent a few years working in San Francisco and was covering the California-Stanford game when the Golden Bears returned a kickoff on the game’s final play, with one of their players weaving through Stanford band members over the final few yards into the end zone.

In 2014, McLeod told Cavaliers.com that he instructed his cameraman to film the final seconds in case something strange happened. And it did — perhaps one of the most famous plays in college football history.

“Usually, the photographers would break down (equipment) and head down to the locker room,” McLeod said. “But I said to the camera guy: ‘Let’s just shoot it, we have time.’ I always had to fight game traffic to get back to the studio, but I always like to live on the edge a little bit anyway, so I said: ‘Just continue to shoot because you never know what could happen.'”

McLeod is survived by his wife, Beth, a TV meteorologist in Cleveland, and three children, Sean, Jenna and Molly.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.


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