Former Notre Dame Coach Richard "Digger" Phelps has been stricken with bladder cancer, ESPN reported on Thursday.

The 71-year-old sports analyst already underwent surgery and is expected to have a follow-up treatment plan in South Bend, Indiana closer to home next week.

Phelps said "he and his family appreciate your thoughts and prayers as he prepares for the 2013-2014 college basketball season."

Since November 1993, Phelps has been analyzing college basketball tirelessly for ESPN, coming into the studio every Monday and has been present in all the events of College Game Day.

Phelps commentates alongside Dick Vitale on ESPN's "Championship Week," NCAA Championship and NCAA Final Four games to provide on-site and studio analysis.

Following the announcement, a host of Phelps fans took to Twitter to express their prayers and support.

According to the American Cancer Society, more than 72,000 new cases of bladder cancer arise in the United States.

The TV analyst is also a revered author of seven books, including two editions of "Basketball for Dummies" and "Digger Phelps & Notre Dame Basketball," which detailed the end of the UCLA's record 88-gam winning streak.