The cycling world has been reeling over the news that long-time television announcer Paul Sherwen died over the weekend. Initially, the cause of death was unknown, as the 62-year-old passed away in his sleep. His co-worker of over 30 years, Phil Liggett, wrote on Twitter that Sherwen's family "have now told me that the result of the post mortem was heart failure".
Liggett and Sherwen have been the voice of cycling for English-speaking audiences for decades, commenting on the Tour de France for NBC Sports. They also called the tours of California and Utah, the USA Pro Challenge, and numerous other events together over the years.
"It's hard to believe," Liggett told the Wall Street Journal. "When the day dawned, I'd lost my right hand man, my wing man, my teammate.
"We were joined together. We had the same temperament, the same sense of humor, and we walked the world together for over 30 years."
Sherwen, a retired professional who won the British national championships and finished the Tour de France five times, gave voice to the riders' suffering with catch phrases like "suitcase of courage", "riding in his own personal purgatory", "pendulum of pain", and "riding like a man possessed".
Liggett told the WSJ that Sherwen had recently taken up riding more, and had been a regular on Zwift lately.
"He was enjoying it again," Liggett said.
Whether he would continue to commentate without his partner of so many years, Liggett could not yet say.
"It's going to be tough, there's no way around it," Liggett said. "At my age, 75, maybe I should go now, hand the whole lot over. That's going to cross my mind. But time's a great healer, we will see."
But, Liggett said, the support from the cycling world has been a comfort in a difficult time.
"I've never seen such an outpouring," he said. "I'm convinced Paul had no idea how much he was loved. But the answer is clear today."
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