The death of long-time NFL reporter Chris Mortensen has hit many of the sport's most notable leaders hard, including Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. Mortensen died Sunday at the age of 72.

Mortensen had been fighting a diagnosis of Stage 4 throat cancer since 2016. He had stepped away from his work responsibilities with ESPN to focus on his health and family.

Manning had developed a great trust in Mortensen over the years, and he gave Mortensen scoops on his decision to sign with the Denver Broncos and his eventual retirement announcement. The quarterback offered his condolences in a social media post.

We lost a true legend,” Peyton Manning said. “Mort was the best in the business and I cherished our friendship. I trusted him with my announcement to sign with the Broncos and with the news of my retirement. I will miss him dearly and my thoughts and prayers are with Micki & his family. Rest in peace, Mort.”

Goodell also said it was a sad day for those associated with Mortensen in the NFL.

“I admired how hard Chris worked to become one of the most influential and revered reporters in sports,” Roger Goodell shared in a statement. “He earned our respect and that of many others with his relentless pursuit of news but also with the kindness he extended to everyone he met.”

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Mortensen worked for ESPN, the South Bay (Calif.) Daily Breeze, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and The National. He had been one of the first reporters Frank Deford hired to work at the latter paper.

Chris Mortensen had won multiple journalistic honors throughout his career and been nominated for two Pulitzer Prizes.

He is survived by his wife, Micki, and his son, Alex.