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Jim Donovan, voice of Cleveland Browns, reveals leukemia relapse

Jim Donovan, the sports announcer who has been the voice of the NFL's Cleveland Browns since 1999, announced that he has had a leukemia relapse. 

Leukemias are a type of cancer that affect the body's blood-forming tissues, according to the Mayo Clinic's website. Donovan was first diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia, a strain of the disease that starts in white blood cells and affects bone marrow, in 2000. He underwent a bone marrow surgery in 2011, according to Sports Illustrated

Donovan announced the illness' return on Wednesday on Channel 3 News' "Front Row," a local news segment he hosts based out of northeast Ohio. 

Bills Browns Football
Cleveland Browns radio broadcaster Jim Donovan stands on the field prior to an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills on Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013 in Cleveland. The Browns won 37-24. David Richard / AP

Donovan said that about a year and a half ago he had noticed "something was amiss with" his health. He said that since receiving news of his relapse, he was undergoing multiple treatments, including chemotherapy, but would soon be starting more intense therapies. 

"This is going to be kind of a long and winding road through this treatment plan because it's going to be pretty aggressive. I've got to get healthy, got to move on. I know the deal. I've done it before and I plan to do it once again," he said. 

Donovan said he will continue to serve in his role as broadcaster and voice of the Browns as long as he is able to. 

Dee and Jimmy Haslam, the owners of the Browns, shared their well-wishes for Donovan in a statement. 

With you every step of the way.

— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) May 31, 2023

"Our thoughts and the thoughts of the entire organization are with Jim and his family right now in this difficult time," the couple said. "There is no better representative of the Cleveland Browns. He is as tough as they come and proved as much in his previous battle. We're all behind Jim and will do everything we can to support him. We look forward to him winning this fight, being around the team and continuing to call our games during the season."

  • Sports
  • Football
  • Cleveland Browns
  • Cleveland
  • Ohio
Kerry Breen
Kerry Breen

Kerry Breen is a news editor and reporter for CBS News. Her reporting focuses on current events, breaking news and substance use.

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