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Ernie Johnson Sr., longtime Braves broadcaster, passes away at 87

Ernie Johnson Sr., 87, the long-time voice of TBS’ Atlanta Braves coverage and a member of the Atlanta Braves Hall of Fame, passed away last night following a long illness. He is the father of Ernie Johnson Jr., who will be replaced by Verne Lundquist on TNT’s coverage of the remainder of the 2011 PGA Championship.

Johnson Sr., a former Braves player, was broadcaster for the team from 1966 to 1999.

“The Turner Sports family is saddened by the loss of Ernie Johnson Sr. He was an iconic voice who helped create a national fan base for TBS’ baseball coverage of the Atlanta Braves. Our deepest sympathies to his wife Lois, his children Ernie Jr, Chris and Dawn, and his grandchildren,” said David Levy, president of sales, distribution and sports for Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.

Johnson’s passing coincided with celebrated happenings for the Braves on Friday Night. Former manager Bobby Cox was inducted into the Braves Hall of Fame and his No. 6 jersey was retired before the Braves beat the Cubs, 10-4. During that game, Dan Uggla set an Atlanta record by extending his hitting streak to 32 games.

“It’s a sad day, and it was probably one of the most celebrated days,” Braves third baseman Chipper Jones told MLB.com. “When you think about listening to the Braves on radio and TV, E.J. was the guy. He always had a kind word to say and always had a smile on his face. He was always a very uplifting kind of personality.”

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