Billy Packer, legendary college basketball broadcaster and beloved voice of the Final Four, has died at 82, his family confirmed Thursday night.
Packer, whose broadcast career included 34 Final Fours, passed away from kidney failure after weeks of being hospitalized in Charlotte, his son, Mark, told The Associated Press.
He had been battling several medical issues at the time of his passing.
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“The Packer Family would like to share some sad news. Our amazing father, Billy, has passed. We take peace knowing that he’s in heaven with Barb. RIP, Billy,” he said separately in a tweet late Thursday night.
Packer’s award-winning career made him a household name during the NCAA tournament where he worked on every Final Four from 1975 to 2008, covering historic moments like John Wooden’s final game as coach.
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Wooden’s 10th and final national championship coincided with Packer’s first time calling the Final Four in 1975.
“He really enjoyed doing the Final Fours,” Mark Packer told the AP. “He timed it right. Everything in life is about timing. The ability to get involved in something that, frankly, he was going to watch anyway, was a joy to him. And then college basketball just sort of took off with Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, and that became, I think, the catalyst for college basketball fans to just go crazy with March Madness.”
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Tributes for Packer also poured in on social media.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.