Announcer Thorne found dead in hotel room (17 April 2003)

ANAHEIM, California (LBOZ) -- Less than a year after the passing of legend Jack Buck, the broadcasting world lost another one of its top announcers. ESPN's top hockey announcer, Gary Thorne, was found dead in his hotel room early Thursday morning. The county medical examiner has not yet ruled on the cause of death, but early indications are of suicide.

An empty bottle of Dom Perignon emblazoned with the Detroit Red Wings' "winged wheel" and the message "2003 STANLEY CUP CHAMPIONS" was found near Thorne's bedside, and an empty bottle of prescription painkillers was found in the bathroom. Also on the bed were a copy of the 2003 Red Wings media guide, various trading cards of Red Wings players, and a stuffed teddy bear wearing a Red Wings jersey.

Perhaps most disturbing, however, was the makeshift altar in the corner. A lifesize carboard cutout of Wings star Brendan Shanahan loomed over a pentagram drawn on the floor in what appeared to be blood. At the center of the pentagram was a stuffed toy of the Mighty Ducks' mascot, Wild Wing. A Jean-Sebastien Giguere trading card had been stapled to the toy, its eyes gouged out with a sharp instrument and the words "YUO (sic)" written across it in black marker.

A visibly shaken Bill Clement, Thorne's longtime broadcasting partner, gave a brief statement outside the hotel. "Gary Thorne was a king among men. His talent was unparalleled, and I loved him dearly."

Clement then became agitated after a reporter asked him if Thorne harbored an unhealthy bias toward the Red Wings. "Gary Thorne was the perfect announcer. He held no bias. He respected every team in the league equally. I can't believe that you would ask such a question. This interview is over."

Iraq's Ministry of Information released the following statement: "The Red Wings are beating their opponent. The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim are committing suicide at the gates of Joe Louis Arena. Their stomachs will roast on spits in hell. The Red Wings taught them a lesson they won't soon forget."