Born in Aurora, Illinois in 1916, Francis Dayle Hearn started his broadcasting career in the 1950s as the local sportscaster for Peoria, Illinois. Hearn was also the voice of Bradley University and the Peoria Caterpillars. He moved to Los Angeles with the then Minneapolis Lakers and became their beloved announcer.
As the Laker's announcer, Hearn became, without a doubt, the most famous announcer in the NBA, Hearn was the only play-by-play announcer for the Los Angeles Lakers since their arrival in Los Angeles and hosted 3,338 consecutive games (The world record) from November 21st, 1965 to December 16th, 2001. Phrases common to the basketball vernacular, such as "slam dunk," and "airball" were coined by him and are known as "Chick-isms."
However, in December 2001 he was forced to take a leave of absence from announcing when he had heart surgery, unexpectedly extended when a freak slip broke his hip. He returned to the Lakers before the 2001-2002 season ended, however, the voice of Chick Hearn is no more.
Today (August 5th, 2002) at 6:30 PM (PDT), Hearn passed away from complications arising from blood clots in the brain. He had collapsed at his home the previous Friday and had several surgeries to remove the clots. Doctors stated that the blood thinning medication he was taking, as well as his age, were major factors. Hearn was 86.