Stuart Scott makes it clear on Page 2 of his autobiography -- written with Larry Platt -- that "Every Day I Fight" is not going to pull any punches about his seven-plus years living with cancer.

"Let's keep it real," he writes. "I'm forty-nine. There's a good chance I'm going to die a helluva lot earlier than I ever wanted to. There's a good chance I'm going to die soon. And I know it. I know it every moment of every day.

"And that reality is never not with me."

What follows is a book that spends about half its 290 pages on the personal story and professional rise of a sports broadcaster unlike any before him as he eventually became one of ESPN's most recognizable personalities.

We read about the origins of catchphrases such as "boo-yah," tales of the early days at ESPN2, how he suffered a severe eye injury at Jets camp and his response to criticism he was too chummy with jocks. (Which he often was, but he hardly was alone in that at ESPN.)

"That critique," Scott writes, "is born of a very particular type of journalism: one in which predominantly white, middle-aged writers and broadcasters paternalistically judge young, often black, athletes."

"I'll ask tough questions, if need be. But they'll be in service of explaining rather than judging. The viewer can then judge for him or herself."

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The second half focuses on the appendiceal cancer that killed him Jan. 4, including graphic descriptions of the treatments he underwent in a desperate attempt to stay alive for the sake of his daughters, Taelor and Sydni.

That includes his finest public moment, a speech at the ESPYs last July that followed a harrowing hospitalization.

Somehow Scott and Platt manage to make it all more uplifting than depressing, thanks to Scott's boundless determination to fight on for his daughters and even more so for what he has to say about the struggle generally.

Every family on Earth will be touched by cancer, or another life-threatening disease, at some point.

The power of Scott's memoir is that it invites -- actually, forces -- readers to think about how to handle the inevitable, either as a patient or a patient's friend or loved one. Or both.


Sometimes, he writes, it's important just to be quiet.

"Some people say, 'Put it out of your mind.' Man, you try putting it out of your mind. That's a Pollyanna world. You don't put this out of your mind, not when you're peeing blood and your stomach is churning all the time and you always feel like this thing is inside you, moving, growing, taking over.

"I can fake it -- but I ain't gonna fake it with the people I love."

Scott began work on the book last spring, when it was becoming clear that for all the fierce battles he had fought, the war likely would be lost. Its publication date originally was set for May. Now it is next Tuesday, March 10.

Few friends were aware he was working on the book and only heard of it after his death, a passing that prompted mourning in the sports world and beyond -- including from President Barack Obama -- that surprised even those closest to Scott.

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But his most important audience, by far, was Taelor and Sydni. Scott wanted to leave something behind for them about his life and his struggle. He ended up leaving something of value for all of us.

"Cancer can kill you," he writes, "but it can also make you the man you always wanted to be."