Longtime ESPYS producer Maura Mandt dies

Maura Mandt, who worked on the ESPY Awards for more than two decades and eventually became the show's executive producer, died unexpectedly Friday. She was 53.

"It's difficult to understand how someone with such passion for life could be gone so suddenly," ESPN executive vice president of content Connor Schell said in a release. "We will certainly remember her relentless pursuit of creative excellence, her courage in pushing boundaries, and the lasting legacy Maura left on the sports world. Most of all, we will remember her as a true friend to so many of us, and we will miss her dearly."

Mandt began working on the ESPYS as a production assistant in the 1990s, became a producer on the show later in the decade and was named executive producer in 2002. She eventually produced ESPN's annual awards show through her company, MaggieVision Productions.

"It was Maura's vision that made possible the unforgettable moment when 140 'Sister Survivors' took the ESPYS stage in 2018 to accept the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage," said Schell. "The power of their voices and message in that presentation was a significant part of ESPN being recognized last year with the Peabody Award, for the company's work on the scope and impact of the [Larry] Nassar abuse scandal."

During her time at ESPN, Mandt helped to develop the X Games.

Among the other numerous projects her company worked on were the NFL Honors show and projects for The Walt Disney Company, which owns ESPN. Mandt was among the winners of a Primetime Emmy Award in 2014 for the ESPN 30 for 30 Short "Arthur & Johnnie." She also won two Sports Emmys for documentary work.

ESPYS writer and producer Aaron Cohen remembered Mandt in a story posted Saturday on The Ringer, calling her "one of the most powerful and influential people in sports and entertainment for years."