Steve Byrnes dies at 56; longtime NASCAR broadcaster

Longtime NASCAR broadcaster Steve Byrnes dies after battle with cancer. He was 56

Steve Byrnes, a longtime Fox NASCAR broadcaster whose cancer fight drew support across the racing community, died Tuesday. He was 56.

Byrnes died just two days after Sunday's "Food City 500 in Support of Steve Byrnes" NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tenn. Fans held up signs during the race which read, "I stand up for Steve."

Byrnes reportedly watched the race on television and tweeted a response to a fan who asked him if he made it through the rain-delayed race, which was won by Matt Kenseth.

"I went the distance," a tweet posted to Byrnes' account stated.

President Obama offered his condolences Tuesday while defending NASCAR champion Kevin Harvick was making his championship visit to the White House.

"I know a lot of fans' thoughts and prayers today are with his wife, Karen, and his son, Bryson," Obama said.

Byrnes worked as a broadcaster for 30 years and was involved with Fox's NASCAR coverage since the network starting covering the racing series in 2001. Before joining Fox, he was a pit reporter for TNT and CBS.

"So hard to hold back the tears and emotion," driver Elliott Sadler tweeted. "You were such a great man and amazing father. Fun co-worker and the best friend."

Tony Stewart also offered his condolences via Twitter: "Very sad to hear about our friend Steve Byrnes passing today. Huge loss for our racing family. He was one of the best ever! We will miss you."

Byrnes is survived by his wife of 22 years, Karen, and their 12-year-old son, Bryson, of Fort Mill, S.Ca. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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