Legendary talk show host Larry King died Saturday morning, a family member confirmed to ABC News. He was 87.
A statement from Ora Media, the parent company of Ora TV which King co-launched in 2012, read: “With profound sadness, Ora Media announces the death of our co-founder, host and friend Larry King, who passed away at age 87 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.”
King overcame several health challenges over the years, including a heart attack that led to bypass surgery and encouraged King to quit smoking. King also survived lung cancer and underwent surgery at Cedars-Sinai in 2017. King also was diagnosed with and treated for prostate cancer in 1999.
In 2019, he suffered a stroke that left him unable to walk on his left foot, and he was sometimes seen using a wheelchair afterward.
On 2 January King was hospitalized for Coronavirus (COVID-19) at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, a source close to the King family told ABC News.
“I never thought I’d be 86,” King told Page Six at the time. “My father died when he was 43, 44. I thought I would die too.”
“I have no complaints. Everything that’s happened to me, I’m grateful for,” he told the publication. “Maybe that sounds cliché, but I’m really, really grateful.”
The award-winning newsman was known for his gravel baritone, signature suspenders and straight-forward questions, a style honed over the course of tens of thousands of interviews on the radio and television.
Born Lawrence Harvey Zeiger, the Brooklyn native wanted to be on the radio from a young age. After graduating high school, he got his first radio job in Florida in the 1950s. He got his first break on-air in Miami and became known by the moniker Larry King, which is now his legal name.
In 1978, he began hosting “The Larry King Show,” a national radio program on Mutual Broadcasting System that he helmed until stepping down in 1994.
During that time, he also made the move to TV. He hosted the CNN program “Larry King Live” from 1985 to 2010. Oprah Winfrey notably endorsed Barack Obama on the show during the 2008 presidential campaign.
In recent years, King hosted “Larry King Now” on Hulu, RT American and Ora TV, a production company King co-founded with Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim in 2012. He was also hosting “Politicking with Larry King” on the channels until his death.
Over the course of his long, illustrious career, King has not been immune to controversy. In 2019, he unknowingly filmed a Chinese propaganda infomercial in a fake interview with a Russian journalist, as reported by ProPublica. “I never should have done it, obviously,” King told the publication.
King was recognized with two Peabody Awards and one Emmy Award, among other honors. He was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 1989 and the Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 1992.
King has also authored several books, done voice work in TV shows and movies, including “Shrek 2” and “Bee Movie,” and appeared in films such as “Ghostbusters.”
In 1988, a year after he survived a heart attack, the newsman founded the Larry King Cardiac Foundation to help those with heart disease pay for their medical treatment.
A lifelong Dodgers fan, from Brooklyn to Los Angeles, King was often seen behind home plate at Dodgers Stadium.
King was married eight times to seven women and had five children. In August, he revealed that two of his children died within weeks of each other. Andy, 65-year-old, died of a heart attack on 28 July and Chaia, 51-year-old, passed away on 20 August shortly after a lung cancer diagnosis.
He is survived by his sons, Larry, Chance and Cannon, as well as nine grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.