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Westport's Frank Deford, Legendary Sportswriter, Dies At 78

Westport writer Frank Deford speaks at the Bridgeport Public Library in 2007.
Westport writer Frank Deford speaks at the Bridgeport Public Library in 2007. Photo Credit: Flickr user Bridgeport Public Library
Frank Deford died Sunday in Key West, Fla.
Frank Deford died Sunday in Key West, Fla. Photo Credit: Contributed photo

WESTPORT, Conn. — Legendary Sports Illustrated writer Frank Deford died Sunday in Key West, Fla., according to Sports Illustrated. He was 78.

Deford, who lived in Westport, was a writer, journalist and novelist. He had also been a commentator on CNN and a correspondent for HBO's "Real Sports."

Until his recent retirement, Deford also had been a commentator on Wednesdays on NPR since 1980.

He has written 18 books, nine of them novels. His 1981 novel, "Everybody's All-American," was named one of Sports Illustrated's Top 25 Sports Books of All Time and was later made into a film of the same title.

He spoke last year at the Westport Library about his most recent book, “I’d Know That Voice Anywhere,” a collection of his best work from across the world of sports.

He has won an Emmy Award for his work as a writer during the Seoul Olympics in 1988.

"Frank Deford. A sports writing god and a class guy. Go back and read his stuff. R. I. P.," Dan Shaughnessy‏, sports columnist for the Boston Globe, said via Twitter.

Deford was six times voted Sportswriter of the Year and was twice voted Magazine Writer of the Year by the Washington Journalism Review.

In 2012, he became the first magazine recipient of the Red Smith Award. In 2013, he was presented with the William Allen White Citation for excellence in journalism and became the first sports journalist ever to receive the National Press Foundation's highest honor, the W.M. Kiplinger Award for Distinguished Contributions to Journalism. He has also received PEN/ESPN Lifetime Achievement Award for Literary Sports Writing .

He is a longtime advocate for research and treatment of cystic fibrosis after the death of his daughter, Alexandra, from the disease in 1980 at the age of 8.

Click here to read the story at Sports Illustrated.

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