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Former major league player and manager, and current Toronto Blue Jays play-by-play announcer Buck Martinez is stepping away from the broadcast booth following a recent cancer diagnosis, he announced Sunday. Martinez is 73.

Here is the statement Martinez released through Sportsnet:

Today will be my last game in the booth for a little while as I have recently been diagnosed with cancer and will begin the process for treatment in the coming weeks. I've been so honoured and privileged to have the support of Blue Jays fans, colleagues, staff and players since I arrived here in 1981, and that continued support through this next challenge means the world to me.

I'm grateful for a tremendous medical team, who has given me great optimism that I will come through this with flying colours. I hope to rejoin my Sportsnet teammates for the stretch run later this season, but in the meantime I will be watching from the sidelines as I fight the good fight.

I thank everyone in advance for respecting my and my family's privacy during this time.

Martinez played 17 seasons in the big leagues as a catcher with the Royals, Brewers, and Blue Jays from 1969-86. A major leg and ankle injury suffered during a collision at home plate in 1985 effectively ended his playing career. He retired following a comeback attempt in 1986.

The next season Martinez joined the Blue Jays broadcast booth, and remained there until taking over as the club's manager in 2001. Toronto went 100-115 (.465) in one season plus 53 games under Martinez. He was fired with the club's record sitting at 20-33 in 2002.

From 2003-09, Martinez broadcast Orioles games. He returned to Blue Jays broadcasts in 2010 and has remained there since as the club's primary play-by-play announcer. Martinez also managed Team USA in the inaugural 2006 World Baseball Classic.