OAKLAND (CBS SF) — The Oakland A’s TV analyst Ray Fosse revealed Thursday he was battling cancer and would be stepping away from the broadcast booth.

Fosse, the former All Star catcher, has served as the color analyst for the A’s radio and television broadcasts since 1986.

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“Along with my wife of 51 years, Carol, today we share that I have been silently battling cancer for the past 16 years,” he said. “Given my current medical condition, I am taking a step away from the A’s and NBC Sports California effective immediately, to focus on my treatment and to be with my family during this time.”

“My wife, Carol, and I extend our gratitude to the baseball community, and community at large, for your thoughts and prayers.”

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The Oakland A’s and NBC Sports California promised their unconditional support.

“The Oakland A’s and NBC Sports California send our unconditional support to Ray during this challenging time,” they said in a joint statement. “Our priority is Ray’s health and well-being. He is and will always be part of our family, and we will help him and Carol in every way we can throughout Ray’s recovery.”

The couple was requesting privacy during this very difficult time.

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Fosse made his Major League debut in September 1967 for the Cleveland Indians. During his 12-year career, he was a two-time All-Star, two-time World Series champion and Gold Glove Award-winner.