WATCH: UT holds special tribute service for 'Voice of the Vols' John Ward Wednesday
UPDATE (June 27):
The University of Tennessee is holding a special memorial service for John Ward, the 'Voice of the Vols'.
You can watch "A Tribute to 'The Voice'" below:
PREVIOUSLY (June 21):
Legendary broadcaster and 'Voice of the Vols' John Ward has passed away, the Vols Network said in a statement Wednesday night.
Ward's play-by-play brought Tennessee sports from the field and court to our ears for over 30 years.
From 1953 onward, he broadcast UT football for 31 seasons and basketball for 34 until stepping down from both at the end of 1998. Ward was a member of the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame.
He passed away Wednesday evening in Knoxville, according to the statement.
The statement continues: "While it is a sad day for all Vol fans, we take great pride in the fact that John belonged to us."
"He remains the very heartbeat of the Vol Network."
Condolences and memories are being shared by fans across the state, including Senator Lamar Alexander, who responded to the sad news on Twitter:
"When it came to UT sports, listening to John Ward was almost as good as watching the game. In fact, many Vol fans at many games brought their radios to make sure they could do both. John was a generous, courteous, enthusiastic ambassador for @UTKnoxville. We will miss him."
Statement from Athletic Director & former Vols football head coach Phillip Fulmer:
"Our entire Tennessee family mourns the loss of the great John Ward. The University of Tennessee has lost one of its most beloved ambassadors.
"For generations of Vol fans, John's voice brought to life many of their fondest memories of Tennessee football and basketball. His visionary thinking paved the way for the Vol Network's rise to prominence as the standard bearer for intercollegiate athletics marketing and broadcasting.
"Despite our shared sadness, I believe it is appropriate to proudly reflect on and cherish the fact that John was ours. We will ensure that his legacy and memory are appropriately honored in the days, months and years to come."
Statement from Tennessee U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander, who served as president of the University of Tennessee from 1988 to 1991:
“When it came to UT sports, listening to John Ward was almost as good as watching the game. In fact, many Vol fans at many games brought their radios to make sure they could do both. John was a generous, courteous, enthusiastic ambassador for the University of Tennessee. He brought joy into our lives, and we will miss him.”