CNN’s first sports anchor, who was with the cable network from the day it went on the air on June 1, 1980, has died, the Associated Press reports. Nick Charles died Saturday at 64 after struggling with bladder cancer for two years, the story reports.
Charles, born Nicholas Charles Nickeas, changed his name in 1970 when he landed his first TV job at WICS-TV in Springfield, Ill., and the news director urged him to adopt the new moniker, the story notes. Before he was hired at WICS, Charles had been driving a taxi, the piece adds.
Charles broadcast with Fred Hickman on "Sports Tonight" for almost 20 years, and became so popular that Topps used his face on a trading card, the story says. Hickman described Charles as a "tremendous storyteller," noting, "He could literally do a story about a horse and make you think this horse was like a person."
Charles then worked as a fight announcer for Showtime and Top Rank from 2001 to 2010, calling boxing "one of my loves," the piece notes. He was known for his GQ style while also being a skilled interviewer who wasn’t afraid to ask tough questions.
When he was diagnosed with cancer in 2009, he was open about his battle and made video diaries for his 5-year-old daughter to watch as she grows up.
"People won’t remember who you are or what you said. It’s really about: Are you going to be remembered as a good person?" Charles said in a March interview with CNN. "That’s victory to me. That’s success."