Frank Deford, longtime sports writer, commentator, dies at 78

Frank Deford holds a proof of the final front page of the newspaper after a news conference at the paper's offices in New York City on Wednesday, June 12, 1991. (SUSAN RAGAN)

NPR confirmed Monday longtime sports writer and commentator Frank Deford has died at age 78.

His wife, Carol Penner Deford, said the broadcaster passed away in his home in Key West, Florida on Sunday.

Deford wrote for Sports Illustrated for 50 years before taking on a broadcasting role with NPR. He also wrote 18 books, including "Everybody's All-American."

Deford had announced his retirement from NPR after 37 years earlier in May.

The six-time Sports Writer of the Year was the first sports writer awarded the National Humanities Medal. In 2013, President Barack Obama honored him for "transforming how we think about sports." Deford called the award the one he is most proud of.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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