Steve Byrnes, the well-known NASCAR broadcaster who had spent almost two years battling cancer, has died. Byrnes was 56.
As a long-time NASCAR TV personality, Steve Byrnes was known as a broadcaster who was fair and filled with journalistic integrity, according to those he worked with.
Byrnes detailed much of his fight with cancer on his social media accounts, and he’d gained a loyal legion of followers and supporters. NASCAR fans were often seen sharing the #ByrnesStrong hashtag, and as news of his death spread, the hashtag experienced a resurgence. Dale Earnhardt Jr. was one who used the hashtag in expressing condolences.
My hope is Steve was able to see how much he was loved & appreciated by so many. Rest easy friend. Prayers to his family. #ByrnesStrong
— Dale Earnhardt Jr. (@DaleJr) April 21, 2015
Earnhardt Jr. wasn’t the only one. After news of his death was made public, Byrnes was remembered by everyone from coworkers to NASCAR drivers. During a ceremony honoring 2014 Sprint Cup champion Kevin Harvick, President Barack Obama even had something to say on the topic of Steve Byrnes’ passing.
“I also want to offer my condolences to everybody in the NASCAR community on the passing of a legendary reporter and broadcaster, Steve Byrnes. I know a lot of fans’ thoughts and prayers today are with his wife, Karen, and his son, Bryson.”
Steve Byrnes’ co-workers reacted to his death on Tuesday, as well. Adam Alexander, one of Byrnes’ co-hosts on NASCAR Race Hub, had this to say.
“Someone asked me one word to describe Steve, and to me it’s ‘dedication.’ Steve was dedicated to NASCAR for 30 years. It’s hard to balance the personalities in the garage. But I think Steve’s ability to do that and his dedication to NASCAR were unbelievable. He was dedicated to his job here on the TV side. He was always prepared and never wanted to do anything without researching it from every angle. What I have learned most throughout this process is Steve’s dedication for his family, for Karen and Bryson. And some of those pictures that will just rip your heart out — that he’s a dedicated father and husband.”
Byrnes death came just two days after a benefit, called the Food City 500 in Support of Steve Byrnes, was held in his honor. Byrnes had been unable to attend the event, but he did watch the benefit on TV, according to USA Today.
Steve Byrnes was first diagnosed with neck cancer in August of 2013, and after responding well to treatment, returned to his job with Fox Sports for the 2014 season. In October, he was forced to take another leave of absence in order to seek further cancer treatment.
Steve Byrnes spent more than 30 years covering NASCAR as on-air talent. He had been a broadcaster for Fox Sports since the network began covering NASCAR in 2001. Before that, he’d worked with CBS and TNN, among others.
Steve Byrnes is survived by his wife, Karen, and his 12-year-old son, Bryson.
[Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images]