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Sports briefs

Published: Saturday, June 25 2011 10:46 p.m. MDT

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.

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

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