Larry King, TV and Radio Legend, Dead at 87

Award-winning TV host Larry King, who battled multiple health issues over the years and was recently hospitalized with coronavirus, passed away at the age of 87.

By Elyse Dupre, Kaitlin Reilly Jan 23, 2021 1:50 PMTags
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Television icon Larry King has died at the age of 87. 

His production company Ora Media announced the news on Jan. 23, tweeting, "With profound sadness, Ora Media announces the death of our co-founder, host, and friend Larry King, who passed away this morning at age 87 at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles." 

A cause of death was not revealed. However, the news comes weeks after reports spread that the host of Larry King Live had been hospitalized due to complications from coronavirus. Due to restrictions to stop the spread of the virus, his children CannonLarry Jr. and Chance, as well as his estranged wife Shawn, who he filed for divorce from in 2019, had been unable to visit him in the hospital, a source told CNN in early January. Currently, Los Angeles is an epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic.

King also had a history of health issues including type 2 diabetes, prostate and lung cancer and a past heart attack.

King's death comes just months after he lost two of his children. His son Andy was 65 when he died unexpectedly of a heart attack on July 28, and his daughter Chaia was 51 when she died of complications from lung cancer on Aug. 20, shortly after being diagnosed. Andy and Chaia are the children of King and his late ex-wife, former Playboy bunny Alene Atkins. He is survived by three other children.

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King was born in 1933. Though he was raised in Brooklyn, New York, the broadcaster, whose full name is Lawrence Harvey Zeiger, began his career as a local news journalist in South Florida. In 1960, he began hosting the Miami-based talk show Miami Undercover. Following legal woes that stemmed from accusations of grand larceny in 1971, King returned to media in 1978 by hosting the popular national radio talk show The Larry King Show. In 1985, he began hosting the CNN talk show Larry King Live. After ending Larry King Live in 2010, he went on to host Larry King Now and PoliticKING with Larry King, both on Hulu. 

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"For 63 years and across the platforms of radio, television and digital media, Larry's many thousands of interviews, awards, and global acclaim stand as a testament to his unique and lasting talent as a broadcaster," Ora Media's statement, posted to King's official twitter account, read. "Additionally, while it was his name appearing in the shows' titles, Larry always viewed his interview subjects as the true stars of his programs, and himself as merely an unbiased conduit between the guest and audience. Whether he was interviewing a U.S. president, foreign leader, celebrity, scandal-ridden personage, or an everyman, Larry liked to ask short, direct, and uncomplicated questions. He believed concise questions usually provided the best answers, and he was not wrong in that belief."

The statement noted that King's interviews from his 25-year run on Larry King Live, Larry King Now and PoliticKING with Larry King are "consistently referenced by media outlets around the world and remain part of the historical record of the late 20th and early 21st centuries." The company then sent its condolences to King's family and shared that details regarding funeral arrangements and a memorial service will be announced at a later time.