Award-winning sports writer Frank DeFord dies at 78

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Legendary sportswriter Frank Deford, also known as NPR's longtime philosopher of sports, died at his home in Key West, Fla., at the age of 78.

Deford wrote more than a dozen books, including several novels such as "Bliss, Remembered" set during the 1936 Olympic Games, and the football saga "Everybody's All-American" - made into a 1988 movie starring Dennis Quaid and Jessica Lange. He wrote and spoke with a lyrical touch and this month retired from NPR's "Morning Edition" after 37 years as a contributor.

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In 2012, then-President Barack Obama presented Deford a medal from the National Endowment for the Humanities, which honored him "for transforming how we think about sports".

The Baltimore native started writing at Sports Illustrated in 1962 and had two lengthy stints with the magazine.

Tony Triolo
Tony Triolo

Well known for his decades-long career at Sports Illustrated, Deford wrote lengthy features on iconic sports figures like Bob Knight, the controversial IN basketball coach, and Billy Conn, the boxer known as "The Pittsburgh Kid".

Deford joined HBO Sports in 1995 and his first report chronicled life in Augusta, Georgia, outside of the Masters.

Deford in a 2008 interview with Deadspin discussed his decades in the journalism business: "For my taste, I liked it better the way that it was".

Bryant Gumbel, host of "Real Sports", said Deford joked with him a week ago about finally being released from the hospital. He delivered 119 segments for the show and was a feature reporter at Wimbledon in the 1990s. "Frank was a giant in the world of sports".

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