The native Philadelphian was best known for anchoring ABC's "Wide World of Sports" variety show since its inception in 1961, and for anchoring 16 hours of the network's coverage of the Israeli hostage crisis at the 1972 Munich Olympic games in which 11 Israeli athletes and coaches and a German police officer were killed by terrorists.
"There are no superlatives that can adequately honor Jim McKay," ESPN and ABC Sports President George Bodenheimer said in a statement. "He meant so much to so many people, and was a founding father of sports television, one of the most respected commentators in the history of broadcasting and journalism."
In 1968, McKay was the first sports broadcaster to win an Emmy Award, one of 13 in his career. In 1989, he added a George Foster Peabody award, which recognizes distinguished achievement and meritorious public service by TV and radio stations.