A former Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times sports writer, McClure joined ESPN in 2013 to cover the NFL, and became the Atlanta Falcons beat writer. He covered the team during its run to Super Bowl LI in 2017, where it lost to the New England Patriots. He also contributed to ESPN’s television and radio coverage of the Falcons and the NFL as well.
“We all loved Vaughn,” said John Pluym, senior deputy editor for digital NFL coverage at ESPN. “He had a heart of gold. He was so helpful to our reporters. In the last few hours, we’ve heard so many stories about how Vaughn had helped them with a story or how he put in a good word for them with a coach or player.”
Pluym added: “Talking to Vaughn on the phone was always a joy. I loved how you could just sense the excitement in his voice for being able to cover the Falcons for ESPN. We will all miss him greatly. And I’ll end this the way Vaughn ended every phone call with a colleague: ‘Appreciate you. Love you.’ We all loved him, too.”
Chicago Bears Hall of Fame linebacker Brian Urlacher posted condolences online as well. “Today I was very saddened to hear about the passing of my dear friend Vaughn McClure,” he wrote. “We became fast friends when he was covering the Bears. He had a big heart and was one of the nicest guys you will ever meet. You will be missed.”
The Falcons also issued a statement. “We are saddened to learn of the passing of ESPN’s Vaughn McClure. He was an earnest, thoughtful reporter who had a passion for his craft and the relationships he held. He will be missed dearly and we are holding his family, friends and associates in our thoughts and prayers.”
Before ESPN, McClure covered the the Bulls in the postseason for the Chicago Tribune. He also covered Notre Dame football for the Chicago Sun-Times and Fresno State basketball for The Fresno Bee. He also worked at the South Bend Tribune and DeKalb Daily Chronicle.
A Chicago native, McClure graduated from Northern Illinois University in 1994.
No details on survivors or memorial plans were immediately available.
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