Longtime Detroit sportscaster Fred McLeod died late Monday night at the age of 67, the Cleveland Cavaliers announced Tuesday.
McLeod was a fixture on Detroit television in the 1980s and '90s, where he spent 24 years working for Channel 2 and Channel 4 and more than two decades as the play-by-play announcer for the Detroit Pistons.
He returned to his native Ohio in 2006, as play-by-play announcer for Cavaliers broadcasts on Fox Sports Ohio, and spent this summer doing TV for Detroit Lionspreseason games.
“It is with the most extreme sadness that the Cleveland Cavaliers share that Cavs and Fox Sports Ohio play-by-play announcer Fred McLeod died suddenly Monday evening,” the Cavaliers said in a statement on their website. “The entire Cavaliers organization mourns the loss of their great friend and teammate.”
McLeod began his broadcasting career in 1974 and made stops in Missouri, California and Ohio, where he was the play-by-play voice for both Cavaliers and Cleveland Indians broadcasts in 1979, before coming to Michigan.
Fred McLeod, the Cleveland Cavaliers TV announcer who spent decades in Detroit sports television and called the 2019 Lions preseason games, died on Sept. 9 at the age of 67. (Photo: David Richard USA TODAY Sports)
He worked Lions’ preseason games from 1983 to 1988, with cornerback Lem Barney as the analyst, and this summer partnered with Chris Spielman on TV.
He was a part of the Pistons’ telecasts, first on PASS Sports and then on Fox Sports Detroit, from 1984 until 2006. He also called Tigers games for PASS and FSD from 1995 to 1997.
“The Detroit Pistons organization expresses tremendous sorrow upon receiving news regarding the unexpected passing of Fred McLeod," the team said in a released statement. "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.”
McLeod is survived by his wife, Beth, a meteorologist at Fox8 in Cleveland, his mother Marilyn, sister Lynn, and three children, Sean, Jenna and Molly.
“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,” the Lions said in a statement. "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.”
Fox Sports Detroit also released a statement Tuesday, saying: “This is a really tough day here at Fox Sports Detroit. Having worked as a Pistons play-by-play announcer and more recently as the Lions play-by-play announcer for preseason games, we had the privilege of spending a lot of time with Fred personally and professionally. We’ll miss it all: his kindness, his passion, his enthusiasm and his storytelling. We send our deepest condolences to Fred’s entire family, including his wife, Beth; mother, Marilyn; sister, Lynn and his three children, Sean, Jenna, Molly and each of their families.”