NCAA Basketball Announcer Billy Packer’s Death Cause Announced
Longtime college basketball broadcaster Billy Packer passed away at the age of 82 on January 26, 2023. His son shared some details related to Billy Packer’s cause of death.
His son Mark Packer announced the devastating news on Twitter and confirmed to The Associated Press. “The Packer Family would like to share some sad news. Our amazing father, Billy, has passed.”
Mark, a host for the ACC Network, added: “We take peace knowing that he’s in heaven with (wife) Barb. RIP, Billy.”
Mark Packer said that his father had been hospitalized in Charlotte, North Carolina, for the past three weeks and experienced several medical issues, and ultimately succumbed to kidney failure on Thursday night.
Billy’s voice was synonymous with March Madness for decades. Broadcasting for NBC and CBS, Billy was on the call for the men’s Final Four every year from 1975-2008.
After joining NBC in 1974, his first Final Four in 1975 was historic: UCLA coach John Wooden grabbed his 10th championship in his final game as a coach.
In 1979, he was part of the crew – along with Al McGuire and Dick Enberg– that named the highest-rated college basketball game in history: Magic Johnson’s Michigan State vs. Larry Bird’s Indiana State in the national title game.
Packer won a Sports Emmy Award in 1993 for “Outstanding Sports Personality/Analyst.” In 1996, the broadcaster was honored with the Curt Gowdy Media Award by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
In 2008, he was inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame as a contributor, alongside Dick Vitale. In 1981, he joined CBS, when the network acquired the rights to the NCAA Tournament, and remained the network’s leading analyst until 2008.
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Billy Packer’s Cause of Death Relates to Kidney Failure
Kidney failure was reported as college basketball analyst Billy Packer’s cause of death. He had several medical issues and succumbed to kidney failure on Thursday night.
Before he became one of the sport’s defining voices, Packer was a standout college basketball player. The player played for Wake Forest from 1959-1962 and aided the Demon Deacons to win two ACC tournament titles.
He was viewed as a controversial figure during his broadcasting days. “As a kid, I was a big NC State fan growing up, and I would watch a game and the next day I’d be like, ‘Boy you sure have it out for NC State, don’t you?’ And he would just laugh,” Mark Packer said.
The star was the author of Hoops, Why We Win, and a number of other basketball books. Packer was married to Barbara, and they shared three children.
Two of his children (Brandt and Mark) work in sports media, Mark is a sports radio host based in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Brandt works as a producer for Golf Channel.
“He really enjoyed doing the Final Fours. 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,” Mark said.
“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.”
Friends and former co-workers have taken to social media to honor the late broadcaster. Dick Vitale wrote on Twitter: “So sad to learn of the passing of Billy Packer who had such a passion for college basketball.”
Sean McManus, the chairman of CBS Sports, said Billy was “synonymous with college basketball for more than three decades and set the standard of excellence as the voice of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.”
“He had a tremendous impact on the growth and popularity of the sport. In true Billy fashion, he analyzed the game with his own unique style, perspective and opinions, yet always kept the focus on the game,” McManus added.
He continued: “As passionate as he was about basketball, at his heart Billy was a family man. He leaves part of his legacy at CBS Sports, across college basketball and, most importantly, as a beloved husband, father and grandfather. He will be deeply missed by all.”
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