Legendary NCAA basketball commentator Billy Packer, who served as the voice of the March Madness tournament for more than 30 years, has died at the age of 82.
Packer's sons, Mark and Brandt, confirmed their father's death in a tweet shared on behalf of the family.
"The Packer Family would like to share some sad news. Our amazing father, Billy, has passed. We take peace knowing that he’s in heaven with Barb. RIP, Billy," the tweet stated.
Mark Packer told the Associated Press that his father had been hospitalized in Charlotte for the past three weeks after experiencing several medical issues and ultimately succumbed to kidney failure.
Billy Packer played three seasons at Wake Forest, which included contributing to the Demon Deacons' Final Four run in 1962, before embarking on a decorated broadcasting career. The former player joined NBC in 1974 and later CBS in 1981, contributing as an analyst or color commentator during every NCAA Final Four game from 1975 to 2008, which included winning a Sports Emmy for Outstanding Sports Personality, Studio and Sports Analyst in 1993.
“He really enjoyed doing the Final Fours,” Mark Packer told the AP. “He timed it right. Everything in life is about timing. The ability to get involved in something that, frankly, he was going to watch anyway, was a joy to him. And then college basketball just sort of took off with Magic Johnson and Larry Bird and that became, I think, the catalyst for college basketball fans to just go crazy with March Madness.”
Packer was inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame for his contributions to NCAA basketball in 2008.