Fox Sports broadcaster Steve Byrnes, who battled head-and-neck cancer, died Tuesday, Fox Sports officials confirmed. He was 56.
He is survived by his wife of 22 years, Karen Byrnes and a son, Bryson, 12, a sixth grader at Charlotte Christian School, along with parents Jerry and Claire Byrnes, sister Betsy Byrnes, brother Dan Byrnes and wife Tammy, nephews Tyler and Dylan Byrnes and niece Samantha Byrnes.
Steve’s broadcasting career spanned 30 years. He joined Fox Sports in 2001, hosting and reporting for multiple NASCAR programs and serving as a pit road reporter for NASCAR on Fox broadcasts of Sprint Cup races from 2001-2014. Most recently, he was the play-by-play announcer for Fox Sports 1 broadcasts of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and co-host of the network’s “NASCAR Race Hub” show.
Prior to joining Fox, Steve hosted “Darrell Waltrip’s Racers” on TNN, worked as a pit reporter for CBS, WTBS and TNN and hosted a variety of NASCAR programs for The History Channel and TNN.
“From the very beginning of NASCAR on Fox, Steve Byrnes was one of the linchpins of the broadcast team,” said David Hill, senior executive vice president, 21st Century FOX. “His passion for the sport – his passion for everyone involved with the sport – shone through week in and week out. But even more than that, Steve was defined by his journalistic integrity and kindness; his ability to communicate everything from complex technical issues to the highly emotive human dramas in this sport, where injury and or death are constantly just one mistake away.
“The consummate television professional, he established himself as a star on SPEED Channel, where viewers simply loved his knowledge, his sense of humor and his easygoing nature, becoming the Mr. Rogers of NASCAR – a warm voice everyone trusted. Even more impressive, and fully on display last weekend in Bristol, Steve was loved and respected by the entire NASCAR community, from the drivers to the team owners to the front office executives. I am devastated by his passing – he was not only a trusted and gifted colleague, but a mate – my heart goes out to Karen and Bryson.”
NASCAR Chairman Brian France stated: “His level of professionalism was matched only by the warmth he showed everyone he met. He battled cancer with tenacity, and was a true inspiration to everyone in the NASCAR family. Simply stated, we’ll miss Steve dearly. Our thoughts are especially with his wife Karen and son Bryson during this difficult time.”
Richard Petty stated: “Steve was a person who had a real passion for his job and that’s what made him stand out as one the best at what he did. He was always humble too, and I never saw him treat anyone unfairly. That’s just how he did his job and lived his life. He always treated myself, our family and our race teams with great respect and I admired him for that. He will be missed by many and our families’ thoughts and prayers are with Karen, Bryson and the rest of his family.”
Funeral services are pending.