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ESPN president John Skipper resigns, citing substance addiction issues

“I come to this public disclosure with embarrassment, trepidation and a feeling of having let others I care about down.”

'Broke' Premiere - 2012 Tribeca Film Festival Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images

ESPN president John Skipper has resigned, according to a press release issued by the network Monday morning.

Skipper, who took over the role in 2012, said he was resigning to address substance addiction issues.

From the release:

"I have struggled for many years with a substance addiction. I have decided that the most important thing I can do right now is to take care of my problem.

"I have disclosed that decision to the company, and we mutually agreed that it was appropriate that I resign. I will always appreciate the human understanding and warmth that Bob displayed here and always.

"I come to this public disclosure with embarrassment, trepidation and a feeling of having let others I care about down.

"As I deal with this issue and what it means to me and my family, I ask for appropriate privacy and a little understanding.”

George Bodenheimer, who was ESPN president from 1998 to 2011 and served as the executive chairman until 2014, will serve as acting chairman for the company for the next 90 days “to help Disney chairman and chief executive officer Bob Iger find Skipper's replacement.”

Skipper first joined ESPN in 1997 as a senior vice president and the general manager of ESPN the Magazine. In November, Skipper signed an extension with the company that would see him stay on as president until 2021.

In the statement, Disney CEO Bob Iger said:

"I join John Skipper's many friends and colleagues across the company in wishing him well during this challenging time. I respect his candor and support his decision to focus on his health and his family. With his departure, George Bodenheimer has agreed to serve as Acting Chair of ESPN for the next 90 days to provide interim leadership, help me identify and secure John's successor, and ensure a smooth transition. I am grateful for George's support and look forward to working with him again in this temporary role."

James Andrew Miller, who wrote the book These Guys Have All The Fun: Inside the World of ESPN, cited an ESPC source who said the resignation was caused by an addiction issue and “nothing else.”