(WXYZ) — Fred McLeod, the voice of the Detroit Pistons for more than two decades, has died at the age of 67, the Cleveland Cavaliers said in a statement. McLeod was the play-by-play announcer for the Cavs.
McLeod was from Strongsville, Ohio and has been the play-by-play broadcaster for the Cavaliers on TV since the 2006 season. According to the American Entertainment International Speakers Bureau, McLeod's 22 seasons broadcasting the Pistons games is the longest tenure of a TV-only announcer with the same NBA team. He joined the Pistons in 1984.
Our condolences go out to his wife, Beth, and his entire family. Beth worked at WXYZ last year.
McLeod was also a reporter at WDIV in Detroit and hosted Sports Final Edition.
"The entire Cavaliers organization mourns the loss of their great friend and teammate. Fred’s deep love for Cleveland and the Cavaliers was clearly evident in everything he did in and around the community and on-air during his more than 1,000 Cavalier game broadcasts. He was a true, heart-felt ambassador for the team, fans and entire greater Cleveland community," the Cavs organization said in a news release.
"The Detroit Pistons organization expresses tremendous sorrow upon receiving news regarding the unexpected passing of Fred McLeod. Serving as a Pistons broadcaster from 1984-2006, Fred touched the lives of many colleagues, players, and fans through his kindness, his enthusiasm for the team, his storytelling and his passion for the game of basketball. We send our deepest condolences to his wife, Beth, and his entire family during this most difficult time," the Pistons said in a statement.
Other play-by-play experience included the Detroit Tigers and Oakland Athletics. He most-recently was the broadcaster for the Detroit Lions preseason games.
The Lions released this statement:
“It is with true sadness that we mourn the passing of Fred McLeod, who we were fortunate to have return as the television voice of Lions preseason football earlier this year. Fred brought an energy to our broadcasts this summer and demonstrated the same passion for our team that he had for Detroit throughout his broadcasting career.
The entire Detroit Lions organization extends its heartfelt sympathies and condolences to his wife, Beth, his family and members of the TV broadcast community he helped mentor for more than four decades.”
Even when he did play-by-plays for other teams like the Pistons, he says Cleveland was always near and dear to his heart.
“My heart was always with Cleveland sports. My wife will tell you, I threw a shoe at the TV when we lost the 1997 World Series. She said, ‘Calm down, It’s just a game!’ And I’d say, 'You don’t understand what we’ve been through in Cleveland,'” he said during an interview with Gabriele.
At one point, Cavs owner Dan Gilbert was his broadcast intern.
“But seriously, I could tell back then that this guy was too smart to be a television broadcaster. You could just see he would process things so quickly. By the way, Dan says I demoted him from the Monday-through-Friday shift to a weekend shift. But I don’t remember doing that! And to this day, I still think: ‘WHY did I do something so stupid and demote him?’ (If I did.)”
This is shocking and such sad news. Fred was a hard workinng, talented & versatile pro. And a mentor! When he came to Detroit, I was working in radio. Fred gave me the opportunity to join him at Channel 2 and I am forever grateful & indebted. Condolences to Beth & his family. 🙏 https://t.co/r4EkWmxUSb
— Dave LewAllen (@tvnewzguy) September 10, 2019
Man WHAT!!!!??? 😢😢OMG this is extremely sad. @CavsFredMcLeod May you rest in Paradise my friend! @BethHMcLeod my prayers sent up above to you and your family!! 🙏🏾❤️❤️❤️ #RIPFred https://t.co/XWMHUqWJxf
— LeBron James (@KingJames) September 10, 2019
Shocked and saddened to hear about the loss of Fred McLeod. He was a student of the game. He loved the CAVS but even more so the fans...Fred worked his ass off for the city of Cleveland and the NBA. Praying and sending my best to his wife Beth and kids.
— Kevin Love (@kevinlove) September 10, 2019
Just crushing news for any of us who have spent time in the @NBA and Detroit sports community. Fred was always gracious, always enthusiastic and a pro’s pro. Just a great guy. Our prayers to Beth and all who were blessed to know him. https://t.co/Ldg1Iw3hj8
— MikeTirico (@miketirico) September 10, 2019
Absolutely crushed. Fred was my mentor. I’ll miss him dearly. 😢 pic.twitter.com/LxWkXSIxm3
— Justin Rose (@JRoseWXYZ) September 10, 2019
Awful, awful news. Fred McLeod has died. The longtime broadcaster was 67.
He’s a Detroit sports legend, and our prayers are with Beth and his family. https://t.co/BdkwLFCfgp
— Brad Galli (@BradGalli) September 10, 2019
Absolutely stunned. Had the pleasure of meeting Fred once last year. Great guy. Condolences to Beth and the family. https://t.co/JzaphAhfrb
— Mike Foss (@MikeFossWXYZ) September 10, 2019
If you want to know who Fred McLeod was just read the tweets. An amazing eulogy for a terrific broadcaster and even better person.
— Mark Champion (@nbamark) September 10, 2019
— Chris Spielman (@chris_spielman) September 10, 2019
Grew up listening to Fred McLeod and got a chance to work with him a little bit this past month. Great man who did a lot of great things for his industry. Rest In Peace Fred. Thoughts are with his family in this time of need.
— TJ Lang (@TJLang70) September 10, 2019
I am truly shocked, and terribly saddened to hear of the passing of sports broadcaster Fred McCleod. RIP Fred, and pray for his family. Gone way too soon.
— Jim Brandstatter (@jimbrandstatter) September 10, 2019
Sigh. We have lost a great one. Fred McLeod passed away suddenly last night. He was the voice of the Pistons and now the Cavs and last month the voice of the Lions preseason games. He loved his wife Beth and his kids and his work. Life is too short. Rest easy, man. pic.twitter.com/AETXHYSHTF
— John Keating (@JohnKeatingFSD) September 10, 2019
Fred & Beth are the bedrock of the Cavs family. To know Fred was to love him. We always will. https://t.co/TiD4HWuDG0
— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) September 10, 2019