Late ESPN Football Reporter Vaughn McClure Honored at Falcons-Panthers Game
Late ESPN reporter Vaughn McClure is being honored during Thursday night's NFL game between the Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers.
McClure died earlier this month at age 48, PEOPLE previously reported, at his home near Atlanta, Georgia. His cause of death has not been publicly released.
Beloved by his colleagues at ESPN and the NFL, McClure was a beat reporter covering the Falcons.
Earlier this week, the Falcons announced that a tribute would be set up for McClure at his spot in the press box at Mercedes-Benz stadium for the rest of the season.
"A passion for his craft and the relationships that he held. Vaughn McClure will have his seat for the remainder of the season in @MBStadium," the team tweeted on Sunday ahead of the game against the Detroit Lions, who ended up winning 23-22.
Included in the tweet was a photo of the tribute, which had a framed photo of the reporter, a vase of flowers, a monitor and McClure's press badges.
On Thursday, the Carolina Panthers followed suit as the team hosted the Falcons at their Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte.
"Thanks to @Panthers for saving a seat for and this beautiful tribute to our guy Vaughn McClure at tonight’s game against the Falcons," tweeted ESPN reporter Nick Wagoner on Thursday ahead of the game, sharing a photo of the tribute similar to the one in Atlanta.
ESPN announced McClure's death on October 15.
"We all loved Vaughn. He had a heart of gold. He was so helpful to our reporters," said ESPN's senior deputy editor for digital NFL coverage John Pluym in a statement at the time. "In the last few hours, we've heard so many stories about how Vaughn had helped them with a story or how he put in a good word for them with a coach or player."
"Talking to Vaughn on the phone was always a joy. I loved how you could just sense the excitement in his voice for being able to cover the Falcons for ESPN," Pluym said. "We will all miss him greatly. And I'll end this the way Vaughn ended every phone call with a colleague: 'Appreciate you. Love you.' We all loved him, too."
Several of McClure's colleagues shared their heartbreak at his death on Twitter, describing the reporter as unwaveringly kind and helpful to others.
"Vaughn McClure made you feel like a celebrity every time you saw him," shared ESPN's Dan Graziano. "I simply cannot believe he is gone. Absolutely crushing."
McClure's father died earlier this year, and in June the journalist shared an emotional tribute to his dad on Instagram. The tribute was McClure's last post before his own death.
"I’m so glad God allowed me to spend extensive time with you before you joined Him up there," McClure wrote.
"You’re not missing anything down here, actually. This world is messed up. For me, I’m still trying to get over the depression of losing you, Mom, Mark, & Nona. With my big sis dying at age 38 and lil bro at 27, I wonder sometimes how much time I’ve got left. I want to live long. I’ve told myself no matter what, I want to honor the memories of all four of you while I’m alive."
Before joining ESPN in 2013, McClure covered the Bears and Bulls for the Chicago Tribune. He also previously covered football and basketball for the Chicago Sun-Times and the Fresno Bee.