Dick Enberg, whose six-decade broadcasting career ended in San Diego, was being mourned around the sports world after his death Thursday from an apparent heart attack.
The Hall of Fame announcer was 82.
“I’m still in shock,” his wife, Barbara Enberg, told Bryce Miller of The San Diego Union-Tribune, who broke the news after 9:30 p.m.
The former voice of the UCLA Bruins, Angels, Rams and Padres died Thursday morning at his La Jolla home while preparing to leave for Lindbergh Field and a flight to meet up with his wife and family in Boston, the U-T said.
“He was dressed with his bags packed at the door,” his wife said. “We think it was a heart attack.”
An NBC Sports star for a quarter-century, Enberg covered tennis, horse racing and the Olympics in addition to the major pro sports. He later worked for CBS, calling golf and the NCAA Final Four besides NFL games. He also worked for ESPN and Fox Sports West.
“Oh my” was his signature phrase — and the title of his autobiography.
His last seven years were with the San Diego Padres, and he retired the same day in 2016 as his famed Dodgers counterpart, Vin Scully.
“We are immensely saddened by the sudden and unexpected passing of legendary broadcaster Dick Enberg,” said Padres executive chairman Ron Fowler and managing partner Peter Seidler. “Dick was an institution in the industry for 60 years and we were lucky enough to have his iconic voice behind the microphone for Padres games for nearly a decade.
“On behalf of our entire organization, we send our deepest condolences to his wife, Barbara, and the entire Enberg family.”
The Detroit News recalled Enberg’s early years in Michigan, where he was born Richard Alan Enberg on Jan. 9, 1935, and became a “huge Tigers fan” who said he wanted to be slugger Al Kaline.
“During his swan song from broadcasting in 2016, he was invited to broadcast a Tigers game. And in 2017, after he officially retired from doing Padres games, the Tigers invited him back, to work an August Tigers-Dodgers series at Comerica Park. He worked alongside Kirk Gibson, and was in heaven,” the News said.
Enberg was the L.A Rams broadcaster from 1966 to 1977, the California Angels from 1969 to 1978 and UCLA men’s basketball telecasts from 1966 to 1977.
He received the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s Ford C. Frick Award, presented annually for excellence in baseball broadcasting, in 2015. He had earlier received similar awards from the Basketball and Pro Football halls of fame.
Enberg worked for CBS for 11 years prior to joining the Padres as a play-by-play broadcaster for NFL games, college basketball and tennis’ U.S. Open. He also contributed to coverage of the Masters and PGA Championship.
Prior to CBS, Enberg spent 25 years at NBC Sports, including as the play-by-play announcer for Super Bowl and Rose Bowl games, and college basketball’s Final Four.
He also announced or hosted the Tournament of Roses Parade for years, sometimes joined by family members.
Flowers will be placed on Enberg’s star of the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Friday.
Tributes came from his former employers, colleagues and fans.
Incredibly sad news: Dick Enberg’s wife Barbara just told me Dick died his morning in LaJolla. Thinks it was a heart attack. Such a legend. Such a gentleman. There are no words.
— Bryce Miller (@Bryce_A_Miller) December 22, 2017
Just talked to #padres chairman Ron Fowler, who’s known Dick Enberg personally for more than 25 years. Team has offered family Petco Park for a celebration of life, if they want/choose.
— Bryce Miller (@Bryce_A_Miller) December 22, 2017
Kindest, most proactive possible treatment of newcomers in this business, for the length of his career. What a terrible loss https://t.co/MkYGx1LCnP
— Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann) December 22, 2017
Sports loses another icon with the passing of the great Dick Enberg today. Absolute legend. He joined us just two months ago to talk about his storied career, Vin Scully and more: https://t.co/h5bQ0hVvcP
— Rich Eisen Show (@RichEisenShow) December 22, 2017
So saddened to hear the news of the passing of the legendary Dick Enberg. Had the pleasure to work with and interview him. A genius and genial storyteller of the best variety.
— Rich Eisen (@richeisen) December 22, 2017
What an incredible career. Sad to report on the passing of sports legend Dick Enberg. From the SoCal scene to the nation’s great sporting events, Enberg did it all! Enberg was 82.
— Christine Devine (@DevineNews) December 22, 2017
????My heart aches tonight to hear of the passing of my friend, and former partner, Dick Enberg. A true professional. One of the best ever. He was a true gentleman. It was an honor to sit next to him for 7 years. RIP Dick. I will miss you. He always told me, “Love ya. Mean it!” ????
— Mark Grant (@Mudcat55) December 22, 2017
RIP Dick Enberg… let’s relive one of his finest moments on live television. RIP to a legend. pic.twitter.com/iG4Rk27gUH
— Connor (@McCartyConnor) December 22, 2017
If you are my age and grew up in Los Angeles, as I did, Mr. Enberg’s voice simply WAS sports. His, Vin’s, Chick Hearn’s. And I never missed an episode of “Sports Challenge.” Thoughts go out to Mr. Enberg’s family.
— Henry Schulman (@hankschulman) December 22, 2017
RIP Dick Enberg, a true broadcasting icon. He was fantastic at everything but I’ll always cherish watching tennis with my Dad, Dick on the call. #OhMy
— Kevin Burkhardt (@kevinburkhardt) December 22, 2017
Dick Enberg with Merlin Olsen or Bob Trumpy on NBC was what the NFL was all about for me in the 80’s. Last time I spoke to Dick was at the P12 tourney in LA a few years back. Could not have been nicer or more accommodating. A true gentleman and legend. R.I.P.
— Dave Softy Mahler (@Softykjr) December 22, 2017
Dick Enberg was a regular at a brewery I used to work at in La Jolla. I was always too shy to say hello to him. One day I finally decided to do it, he took the time to introduce himself, his son and daughter and thanked me for the meal I prepared for him. Legendary. RIP. #Ohmy pic.twitter.com/aYSetf22kS
— Alberto Vega (@AlbertosShinfo) December 22, 2017
Dick Enberg was so much more than the voice of the Angels, Rams, UCLA, Wimbledon, NBC and other entities. He was one of the best humans ever. My heart is broken tonight. He will live on in my memory. #dickenberg
— Bill Mahoney (@BillMahoney14) December 22, 2017
— San Diego Padres (@Padres) December 22, 2017
Growing up in Los Angeles, if the Dodgers or Angels were on the East Coast, you’d get a baseball doubleheader, with Vin Scully doing one game and Dick Enberg the other. A lot of those nights ended with me in bed and the transistor radio under my pillow
— Tom Timmermann (@tomtimm) December 22, 2017
Dick Enberg was a class act. Sent him some prints of this photo of him and Vin Scully from opening day. Out of the blue one day Dick called to say thanks. Who does that? An amazing gentleman. It was always great to see him at the ballpark. pic.twitter.com/TohA7IgD5i
— K.C. Alfred (@KCAlfredPhoto) December 22, 2017
I am so sad and heartbroken to hear the news Dick Enberg @Deohmy is gone. I met Dick through his wonderful wife Barb on the @CAFoundation bicycle ride many years ago. I will always cherish our talks about our love of sports and how sports bring people together. #RIP #OhMy” pic.twitter.com/yAtAwcryTJ
— Shelley Zimmerman (@ChiefZimmerman) December 22, 2017
Dick Enberg, the greatest all-around sportscaster, has passed. Such a talent. He loved San Diego. Always too kind to me. RIP.
— Nick Canepa (@sdutCanepa) December 22, 2017
— City News Service Contributed to this report.