Transcript for Family of late sports journalist John Saunders open up on his struggle with depression
We're here with Wanda and Bernie Saunders, the wife and brother of the late and beloved sports broadcaster and dear friend of mine John Saunders who passed away last August from natural causes. Now, John, he was a dear friend and for so many he was just that and a mentor and in a moment we'll talk about his new book that he is calling "Playing hurt" but first a look at the wonderful man John Saunders. He was quite simply one of the best. Congratulations to the national champion Texas longhorns. Reporter: John Saunders, the legendary ESPN sportscaster hosting and covering everything from college football to basketball to hockey for nearly three decades. I'm John Saunders. Reporter: His infectious laugh. Tuesday night baseball -- Reporter: -- Goon too soon when he passed away last August at the age of 61. Our generous and talented and beloved colleague John Saunders has died. Reporter: But his legacy lives on through his family and now in the memoir John finished just before his death, "Playing hurt," my turn XI from despair to hope. John reveals the lifelong battle with depression he kept hidden in hopes that sharing his story would let others know you are not alone. And I know that we will never be alone. Our dear friend and inspiration always in our hearts. And though this is going to be a difficult but very meaningful conversation, would you please show your appreciation for Wanda and Bernie Saunders for being here. How are you both doing today? Very well. I think it's take one day at a time and that's the best that you can do. Yeah. Same thing. I believe in happy mornings and he had a great life and we're trying to celebrate his great 61 years. Yes, he had a great 61 years and you learn so much in reading about his book and the love of his life right here, how he adored his big brother -- his little brother as well and Jenna and Aaliyah, the light of his life, the two daughters, how are they doing. They're doing well. Everybody is working and we're just pushing along, you know. What you have to do because I know in a couple of days it will be one year since we lost him. Yes, it will. I read it from cover to cover and I've known -- I knew John for a long time and did not realize the challenges that he was facing and we had talked about the book before he passed. He told me about it. Was it a relief to him that he was going to get this side about this very deep, dark depression or was he anxious about it? Was he nervous about people knowing his story. I think he was really excited about it. People like you, you say make your mess your message, basically he was trying to do that. He basically went to a program at the white house and it was basically on depression and mental health and he came back and said he felt like a phony because he had dealt with in for so long and he wanted to come out and help other people. What was his hope in helping other people and with the book, Wanda. Helping to let you know that you can get past this and that there is a silver lining and that you can get help. And it's possible to move forward and he was. Yes, he was and people need to realize that. Yes. That's why when the untimely death of natural causes just stunned us all, opening the book and reading the book and he talks about Tappan zee bridge and how he thought about taking his own life and he didn't. So, Bernie, I ask you, if somebody is feeling that way at this moment watching us what would John say to that person, what do you say to that person? The message is very clear, John was best friends with Jimmy Valvano. Part of the V foundation and Jimmy's message don't ever give up so with depression, one step at a time, one day at a time. You know, one step forward and then keep hanging in there and that's what John did. He fought every day, the title is playing hurt and that's what he did, he fought every day but he felt hurt every day. He talks glowingly throughout the book about both of you and that your good intentions in saying -- Yes, cheerleader. Cheerleader and a lot of people going through depression and they say you think you're doing as a family member you think you're doing the right thing so -- Wake up in the morning and be happy. You know, and that we learned as we went through this with him that that doesn't always work for everybody. You have to let the person figure it out and you also along with having a good doctor and having medication, then you figure out how you do this but it's natural for your family member to want to, you know, like he would call it be a cheerleader. He said you were the most beautiful woman he ever met. So very true. Wan Wanda, Bernie, thank you. My love to you and he lives on with so many young people. He was a great mentor. Yes. To me, as well and a friend. Thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you, guys. "Playing hurt" is out right
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