Sportscaster Charles dies of cancer

ATLANTA — Nick Charles, the former taxi driver who became CNN's first sports anchor and served in that role for nearly two decades, died Saturday after a two-year struggle with bladder cancer, the cable network reported. He was 64.

He died peacefully at his New Mexico home, wife Cory told the network.

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Nicholas Charles Nickeas grew up in Chicago, working late-night jobs in high school to help his family, according to CNN. He eventually went to Columbia College Chicago to study communications and drove a taxi to help pay his tuition.

He made his name before a national audience teaming with Fred Hickman for almost 20 years on "Sports Tonight," a daily highlight show that battled with ESPN for viewers. Charles became such a popular TV personality that Topps put his face on a trading card, CNN reported.

—Deseret News staff and wire reports