Legendary Israeli sports presenter, screenwriter Modi Bar-On dies

The 59-year-old TV personality, presenter, screenwriter and director lost his fight against lung cancer on Monday.

 Israeli television presenter Modi Bar-On during a conference of Channel 13 News company in Jerusalem on June 3, 2021 (photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)
Israeli television presenter Modi Bar-On during a conference of Channel 13 News company in Jerusalem on June 3, 2021
(photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

Israeli TV personality and screenwriter Modi Bar-On, best known for hosting Sport 5's UEFA Champions League broadcasts, died on Monday aged 59.

Bar-On lost his fight against lung cancer, which kept him hospitalized and off television screens in Israel since January.

Son of a Holocaust survivor, Bar-On served in the IDF's Nahal Brigade during the First Lebanon War in 1982 before starting his career as a stand-up comic.

He also worked as an actor and director during the 1990s before he rose to prominence when he joined the writing team of Hahamishia Hakamerit (The Chamber Quintet), a satirical sketch show that later became a cult hit.

In 1994, he was hired by Sport 5, Israel's leading sports channel, and presented countless matches and competitions during his career. He became synonymous with the channel's Champions League studio show due to his iconic presentation for over a decade.

 Israeli  writer and actor Modi Bar On with Gadi Fur (credit: FLASH90) Israeli writer and actor Modi Bar On with Gadi Fur (credit: FLASH90)
Sports and Culture Minister Chili Tropper paid respects to the late presenter in a statement released later on Monday.

"Modi's works as a presenter, screenwriter and director have reached every home in Israel and will be remembered for many years due to his unique style"

Sports and Culture Minister Chili Tropper on Modi Bar-On

Bar-On's "intelligent, extensive and in-depth presentation on Sport 5 will be sorely missed by us all," the minister added.

He made his final television appearance on Saturday evening when an item, written and narrated by Bar-On from his deathbed, was broadcast in the build-up for the Champions League final, in which Spanish champions Real Madrid defeated Liverpool to capture their 14th Champions League title, a record in European soccer.