Curt Schilling diagnosed with cancer

Curt Schilling, one of the Phillies' all-time greatest pitchers and current ESPN analyst, announced Wednesday he was recently diagnosed with cancer.

"I've always believed life is about embracing the gifts and rising up to meet the challenges," Schilling said in a statement released by ESPN. "We've been presented with another challenge, as I've recently been diagnosed with cancer."

Schilling did not disclose the specific nature of his illness. The network was unclear about whether Schilling, 47, will assume his duties this season as an analyst for ESPN's Sunday night broadcasts. He was promoted to that position last December and was scheduled to work alongside former teammate John Kruk.

Schilling ranks sixth all-time in wins (101) for Phillies pitchers, fourth in strikeouts (1,554) and eighth in innings pitched (1,659 1/3). He won MVP of the National League championship series in 1993 but departed the franchise on bitter terms in 2000. He found glory in Arizona and Boston, winning three World Series as one of the best postseason pitchers of his generations.

He finished 12th in Hall of Fame voting last month with 29.2 percent of the vote during his second year on the ballot. (At least 75 percent is needed for induction.) The Phillies honored Schilling last summer by placing him in the team's wall of fame. 

Schilling endured health issues before; he told The Boston Globe he suffered a heart attack in 2011 and needed surgery to insert a stent into one artery. Schilling's wife, Shonda, overcame stage 2 malignant melanoma in 2001. 

"My father left me with a saying that I've carried my entire life and tried to pass on to our kids: 'tough times don't last, tough people do,'" Schilling said in his statement. "Over the years in Boston, the kids at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have shown us what that means. With my incredibly talented medical team I'm ready to try and win another big game. I've been so very blessed and I feel grateful for what God has allowed my family to have and experience, and I'll embrace this fight just like the rest of them, with resolute faith and head on."

Schilling is the second star from the 1993 Phillies to reveal his cancer diagnosis within the last year. Former catcher Darren Daulton was diagnosed with advanced brain cancer last July.

Have a question? Send it to Matt Gelb's Mailbag.