ESPN regular and Chicago Bears reporter Jeff Dickerson died at the age of 44 on Tuesday due to complications of colon cancer, according to the network.
Dickerson had been a regular in The Chicago sports market for more than 20 years and passed away at the same hospice care facility that cared for his wife, Caitlin, during the last days of her life two years ago.
Caitlin Dickerson died after undergoing treatment for melanoma and suffered complications for eight years. Dickerson and his wife are survived by their son Parker and Dickerson’s parents, Georg and Sandy.
“JD was one of the most positive people you will ever meet,” ESPN deputy editor for digital NFL coverage Heather Burns said in a statement.
“We all got together in October for an event, and there he was lifting our spirits and assuring us he was going to beat cancer. That’s just who he was. We are holding Jeff’s family, and especially his son, Parker, in our prayers.”
During the last years of his life, Dickerson said he considered his wife to be an “inspiration” because of the way she “refused to let cancer dictate her life.”
His own diagnosis came early in 2021 and he continued to report with a full schedule and parent Parker, doing regular fundraising for cancer research and reporting on the Chicago Bears for both ESPN digital and ESPN 1000 radio.
“If you need something to encapsulate or describe who Jeff Dickerson was, that’s it,” said ESPN 1000 host Tom Waddle, a former Bears receiver and close friend of Dickerson’s.
“I’d ask him how he’s doing and his first response is, ‘How are you doing? How are [Waddle’s daughters]?’ The dignity with which he has carried himself through some of the most difficult times any human being would be asked to go through, what his wife went through, and the dignity and strength and grace that he showed at her side throughout all of this … I don’t know anybody I’ve met in my 54 years in life who has handled adversity over the last decade with more grace and strength and dignity than Jeff Dickerson. I know a lot of people go through [stuff]. I do. I’m sympathetic to all of it. But what Jeff Dickerson has had to go through the last decade is cruel.
“I never heard him once, whether it was what Caitlin was going through, with what he has had to go through, I never once heard him pity himself. Ever. Not once have I ever heard him say that this has gotten the best of me, that I didn’t deserve this. It’s amazing when faced with stuff like this, what strength some individuals have. I never heard a cross word, and it never felt like he thought he has been cheated out of anything.”