Phyllis George died on May 14 at age 70 in Kentucky. Her children Pamela Brown and Lincoln Brown confirmed her death and stated that it was due to a rare blood disorder. 

George was crowned Miss America in 1971, joined CBS Sports in 1974 and later became the first female co–host of The NFL Today. 

Her family released a statement on her death that read, “for many, Mom was known by her incredible accomplishments as the pioneering female sportscaster, 50th Miss America and first lady. But this was all before we were born and never how we viewed Mom. To us, she was the most incredible mother we could ever ask for, and it is all of the defining qualities the public never saw, especially against the winds of adversity, that symbolize how extraordinary she is more than anything else. The beauty so many recognized on the outside was a mere fraction of her internal beauty, only to be outdone by an unwavering spirit that allowed her to persevere against all the odds.”

Pamela followed in her mother’s footsteps and is CNN’s Senior White House Correspondent. She told CNN, “She was my biggest advocate, but my best critic too. She always made me better.”

Lincoln, who is an entrepreneur, said, “Mom lived her life to a high standard and set a high standard for everyone else. What will forever stay with us are the defining qualities the public never saw, especially against the winds of adversity, that symbolize how extraordinary she is more than anything else. The beauty so many recognized on the outside was a mere fraction of her internal beauty and unwavering spirit.”

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The anchor of ESPN’s SportsCenter Face to Face, Hannah Storm, celebrated George’s legacy by tweeting, “a true pioneer who approached her job with enthusiasm, empathy and humor. She was herself-charming and funny ..helped her audiences  connect with some of the great sports figures of the day.  Condolences to her family &  all who loved her.”

George was married to former movie producer Robert Evans and then later the former governor of Kentucky John Y. Brown Jr., with whom she had Pamela and Lincoln.