ESPN reporter Edward Aschoff passed away on Christmas Eve as he was being treated for multifocal pneumonia. He was 34 years old and to make matters worse Christmas Eve was his birthday. Aschoff was actually admitted to the hospital earlier this month and diagnosed with pneumonia yet his symptoms began to worsen despite a round of antibiotic treatment. He landed back in the emergency room a week later, his fiancée, Katy Berteau, wrote in a series of tweets. He had a rare condition called Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocystosis. According to John Hopkins Medicine, it typically occurs in infants or young children, though it does occasionally manifest in adults. It can be passed on both genetically and by way of virus and comes with symptoms including skin rashes, swollen lymph nodes, jaundice and liver enlargement.
According to his Twitter account, he briefly mentioned the disease earlier this month: “Anyone ever had multifocal (bilateral) pneumonia in their early 30s as someone who never gets sick and has a very good immune system? Asking for two friends… my lungs.” ESPN Network senior vice president Rob King also remembered him for his warmth, calling him a “ray of sunshine.” More inquiries have come up about his second diagnosis, HLH. It is not clear if Aschoff had HLH or pneumonia first, if one came from the other, and exactly how he died so quickly. His fiancee Katy Bertean tweeted “I want to share the brightness that he showed, even up until the last day he was awake. He kept the doctors and nurses constantly laughing, and always made a point to thank them and tell them what a great job they were doing,” Aschoff, a rising star in college football reporting, had been public about his health struggle, which he began tweeting about in November. “For someone who never gets sick I’ve had some fever/cough/fatigue/flu thing for about two weeks now,”
According to ABC7Chicago, Aschoff joined ESPN in 2011 as part of the SEC blog network, which covers the NCAA Southeastern Conference. During the past three seasons, Aschoff reported from college campuses across the U.S. for ESPN.com, SportsCenter, SEC Network and ESPN radio, ESPN reported. He was both a television and radio sideline reporter during games. His fiancee also stated that “He also loved Christmas so much that, even from the ICU, he was coordinating with my friend about wrapping my presents so I could be surprised.” As reported by other ESPN crewmates, they were set to be married on April of 2020.
Urban Meyer, who coached the Gators during Aschoff’s time at Florida and with The Gainesville Sun, responded to Berteau’s tweets Thursday, writing, “First Class young man we knew from our days in Gainesville. Excellent at his job. Gods Mercy Katy.” Berteau wrote “I couldn’t be more proud that the one thing people are talking about most was his ability to lift them up with his energy, light, and that all-encompassing smile,” She said a small memorial will be held in Oxford, Mississippi, and a main service will be held in Atlanta with details to come.