ESPN basketball icon Dick Vitale breaks his silence amid vocal cord cancer battle and shares emotional video with fans: ‘I didn’t speak for seven months’

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  • Vitale has regained his voice following his latest battle with vocal cord cancer
  • He plans on returning to the ESPN booth on November 28 for Miami-Kentucky
  • DailyMail.com provides all the latest international sports news

Dick Vitale has regained his voice following his latest battle with vocal cord cancer, and now the 84-year-old college basketball announcer is already planning his return to the ESPN booth.

An emotional Vitale sent a video of himself and his doctor to Tampa Bay Times reporter Joey Knight on Monday – and as the former Detroit Pistons coach explained, the footage shows him speaking for the first time in seven months.

‘This is the first time I’ve been able to speak,’ Vitale said through his fluttering, raspy voice. 

‘I’m gonna do it in moderation for the next couple weeks … I’m emotional. I’m excited. I didn’t speak, you gotta understand, for seven months. You’re the first people hearing my voice in a long, long time.’

The famously verbose Vitale underwent radiotherapy in September, which his doctor said went ‘remarkably well.’

Dr. Steven Zeitels, director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Laryngeal Surgery and Voice Rehabilitation

Dick Vitale (left) is speaking again, thanks to Mass General’s Dr. Steven Zeitels (right)

A former coach at Detroit Mercy and with the NBA's Pistons, Vitale is a celebrated announcer

A former coach at Detroit Mercy and with the NBA’s Pistons, Vitale is a celebrated announcer

‘At this point, he can start using his voice,’ said Dr. Steven Zeitels, director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Laryngeal Surgery and Voice Rehabilitation. ‘He’ll see how long it takes to recover. We had planned to look under the microscope in the operating room [Tuesday], but it looks so terrific that we are going to wait on that because I see no evidence of the cancer whatsoever.’

Vitale may have another surgery to improve his voice down the road.

‘Given the remarkable recovery he’s had in the last few weeks, the best pathway now is patience, and let’s see how Dick can heal himself and get back to what he loves to do,’ Zeitels said.

The next step comes November 28, when Vitale hopes to return to the booth in Lexington for Miami-Kentucky at Rupp Arena. 

Vitale has already beaten cancer before, having survived previous battles with melanoma and lymphoma.

He’s also become synonymous with the disease through his charity work as a board member with the V Foundation, which is named for his friend, broadcasting partner, and former North Carolina State coach Jim Valvano, who died from cancer in 1993.

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