Longtime Boston Red Sox TV announcer Jerry Remy dies at 68 after long cancer battle

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The Boston Red Sox lost a franchise icon Saturday with the death of longtime broadcaster Jerry Remy. He was 68 and had battled cancer since an initial diagnosis in 2008.

The team confirmed the news after multiple Boston-based outlets first reported Remy's passing Sunday.

A Massachusetts native, the former undersized MLB infielder began his career with the California Angels and eventually played for his hometown team from 1978 (his lone All-Star campaign) to 1984. In 1,154 career games games, Gerald Peter Remy batted .275, stole 208 bases and hit seven home runs.

Knee injuries forced him to walk away from his playing career before the 1986 season and he transitioned to the broadcast booth for NESN in 1988. In between, he served as a bench coach in Boston's minor league system.

With his trademark accent and prowess in describing the game, "RemDawg" – a nickname given to him by former play-by-play partner Sean McDonough – became beloved by the Red Sox fanbase. Paired with Don Orsillo for many years, the duo often shared several hearty laughs in the booth.

"Thank you for 21 years of friendship. I am nowhere without you," Orsillo, who now broadcasts for the San Diego Padres, wrote on Twitter. "Showed me the right MLB way. I know I will text you 3 times a day still. I am lost."

Boston Red Sox broadcaster Jerry Remy signals to former second baseman Dustin Pedoria during pregame ceremonies in Pedoria's honor prior to a game against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park.
Boston Red Sox broadcaster Jerry Remy signals to former second baseman Dustin Pedoria during pregame ceremonies in Pedoria's honor prior to a game against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park.

Remy was first diagnosed with lung cancer in 2008 and endured at least seven other recurrences. He took various leaves throughout his broadcasting career to focus on his health, the last time occurring in August. He did not return to the booth but did throw out the first pitch prior to Boston's wild card game victory over the New York Yankees.

He is survived by his wife of 47 years, Phoebe, sons Jordan and Jared and a daughter, Jenna.

Jared Remy was sentenced to life in prison for murdering the mother of his child in 2013. Jerry Remy took an immediate leave of absence from the booth and returned for the next season.

"Jerry’s love and connection to baseball didn’t allow anything to stand between the game and him, including for many years cancer," Red Sox principal owner John Henry wrote in a statement. "He devoted his entire career to baseball and whether from his seat in the clubhouse or his perch above the field in the broadcast booth, he took generations of rising Red Sox stars and a multitude of fans along for the ride with him. During his lifetime, he witnessed great triumphs and terrible tragedies handling all of it with grace, dignity, and a huge heart. He left an indelible mark on this club and on an entire nation of Red Sox fans."

Social media tributes began pouring in Sunday morning:

Follow Chris Bumbaca on Twitter @BOOMbaca.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Jerry Remy, longtime Red Sox TV announcer, dies after battling cancer