Philly Loses Longtime Sportscaster Gary Papa

Longtime Philadelphia sportscaster Gary Papa lost his battle with prostate cancer Friday afternoon. He was 54 years old.

Papa first battled prostate cancer in 2004. The Action News' Sports Director revealed that he was battling cancer again last year.

A Facebook group sprung up to help support Papa during his battle. Now many fans are using that area to leave their condolences.

Papa was a native of Upstate New York but became known as one of Philly's biggest sports figures.

A familiar face on Philadelphia TV for nearly three decades, Papa joined Channel 6 in 1981 as a weekend sportscaster, according to his station bio.

“Needless to say, all of us who have worked with Gary and who loved Gary are devastated tonight. Most of us knew this day would have to come eventually, but there’s no way to really prepare. There is an enormous hole in our hearts, almost as enormous as was Gary’s spirit, his devotion to his work, and to all of you," said Action News anchor Jim Gardner.

The entire Philadelphia TV community lost one of our own Friday and our condolences go out to Papa's wife Kathleen and two sons, Tucker and Nathaniel.

NBC 10 sportscaster John Clark was close with Papa and wanted to share these thoughts:

"Gary Papa was one of the best people you could ever meet. We became good friends and he was my mentor.

I remember having a dream of becoming of a sportscaster and thinking if I couldn't be Harry Kalas, I would love to be Gary Papa.

He was my mentor. He helped me realize my dream of becoming a sportscaster.

I approached him while I was in college, trying to get into the business. He looked at my tape and gave me a great critique -- I followed those words.

We actually became fast friends through our love of Seinfeld and sports.

I will always remember Gary for his laugh and the way he always tried to make people smile. He was still a kid at heart, very playful and always joking around. He was the same guy he was on the air and I wanted to be like him.

There will never be another Gary Papa. He made all of our lives better."

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