McLeod has been calling play-by-play for the Cavs since the 2006 season and has been tied to many iconic moments in team history. He was on the call when the Cavaliers won the NBA Finals in 2016 and fired up the crowd by screaming "Goodnight, Oakland. It's over! The 52-year drought is over!"
Following news of his death, the team released a statement offering their condolences to McLeod's family.
The greatest “Wine & Gold winner” ever.
Thank you Fred. You will be missed. ❤️💛 https://t.co/6I14MmLu0r— Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) September 10, 2019
"It is with the most extreme sadness that the Cleveland Cavaliers share that Cavs and Fox Sports Ohio play-by-play announcer Fred McLeod died suddenly Monday evening. The entire Cavaliers organization mourns the loss of their great friend and teammate. Fred’s deep love for Cleveland and the Cavaliers was clearly evident in everything he did in and around the community and on-air during his more than 1,000 Cavalier game broadcasts. He was a true, heart-felt ambassador for the team, fans and entire greater Cleveland community.
"The Cavaliers extend our deepest condolences to Fred’s entire family, including his wife Beth, mother Marilyn, sister Lynn, and his three children, Sean, Jenna, Molly and each of their families."
An Ohio native, McLeod was preparing to embark upon his 14th straight season serving as the play-by-play announcer for Fox Sports Ohio. However, this would have actually been his 15th season on the job. McLeod previously served in the same capacity for the 1979-1980 season.
Upon hearing the news, former Cavaliers star LeBron James sent his condolences on social media, writing, "Man WHAT!!!!??? [Oh my God], this is extremely sad. [Fred McLeod] May you rest in Paradise my friend! [Beth McLeod] my prayers sent up above to you and your family!!"
LeBron may not have been a beloved figure in the Cleveland area after departing for the Miami Heat, but McLeod knew that the King's heart would forever remain in Ohio. He could tell simply by the way in which James sought out the play-by-play man before each game.0comments
“I knew LeBron never fully detached himself from Cleveland, because every game we were in Miami," McLeod said, per News5 Cleveland, "he would – literally seconds before the ball was thrown up – he would run over and shake my hand and shake Austin Carr's hand and look us right in the eye. He wouldn’t do that if he was cutting the cord. I think that was his way of always staying in touch.”
In his career, McLeod spent 36 years working as the play-by-play man. Twenty-two seasons were spent with the Detroit Pistons, and McLeod spent the 1979 season as a TV announcer for the Cleveland Indians. His sports broadcasting career also included stints with the NFL’s Detroit Lions and MLB’s Detroit Tigers.