CNN Anchor Nick Charles Dies After Two-Year Battle with Bladder Cancer (Video)

Nick Charles
Courtesy of Turner Broadcasting

The sportscaster was one of the cable network's first on-air personalities and had a 40-year career in broadcasting.

Sportscaster Nick Charles, one of CNN's first on-air personalities, died Saturday after a two-year battle with bladder cancer. He was 64.

During a 40-year career in broadcasting, Charles covered marquee sporting events including the Super Bowl, the Olympics and the Kentucky Derby. He joined CNN at its inception in 1980 and hosted CNN Sports Tonight with Fred Hickman when the cable news network futilely attempted to compete with ESPN's SportsCenter. Beginning in 1986 and throughout the 1990's he served as host of Turner's coverage of The Goodwill Games.

"As a journalist and sports personality, Nick Charles helped put CNN on the map in its early days," Jim Walton, president of CNN Worldwide said in a statement. "He brought intelligence, style and heart to his work--qualities that translated to our company and inspired those of us who were fortunate to work alongside him.  His passing is a loss to CNN, to the sports world and to the fans and friends everywhere who were with him to the end of his extraordinary life. Like them, our thoughts today are of Nick and with his family."

By the time Charles left CNN in 2001, he was hosting his own program, Page One with Nick Charles. He served as boxing analyst for the 1998 Goodwill Games in New York and joined Showtime in 2001 as commentator and blow-by-blow analyst for the premium network's boxing coverage. At Showtime, he interviewed a string of champions including Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson. And he covered some of the sport's most memorable fights: Buster Douglas knocking out Mike Tyson; Tyson biting Evander Holyfield's ear; Roberto Duran telling Sugar Ray Leonard, "No mas."

In 2007, Charles won the Boxing Writer's Association's broadcaster award and the Sam Taub Award the following year.

In 2009, his illness forced a leave of absence from Showtime. He returned to television only one time before his death; last March on HBO's Boxing After Dark.

Last Sunday, CNN's Sanjay Gupta aired a segment about Charles' waning battle with cancer. He had been taping video messages for his five-year-old daughter Giovanna.

"My little girl needs a good daddy more than anything right now," said Charles. "...I need to build these memories for her so that I'm not a blur."

Gupta's interview with Charles is below: