Former CNN talk show host and broadcasting legend Larry King died Saturday morning at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He was 87.
His company, Ora Media, announced the news on Twitter.
He was hospitalized in late December after contracting COVID-19 and spent time in the hospital’s intensive care unit, according to multiple media reports. But no cause of death was immediately released.
King became a household name as the host of CNN’s “Larry King Live” for decades after a successful run as host of radio’s “The Larry King Show” in the 1970s.
The Brooklyn native stepped down from his CNN show in 2012, but has continued to work since then, hosting “Larry King Now” from 2012-20 on Hulu and RT America. He also hosted the weekly “Politicking with Larry King” on those channels.
“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 said on Twitter.
“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.”
Tributes immediately began pouring in on social media from colleagues, former co-workers, friends and fans.
“Larry King was a giant of broadcasting and a master of the TV celebrity/statesman-woman interview,” CNN Chief International Anchor Christiane Amanpour posted on Twitter. “His name is synonymous with CNN and he was vital to the network’s ascent. EVERYONE wanted to be on `Larry King Live.’ May he Rest in Peace.”
Piers Morgan, whose show on CNN replaced “Larry King Live” in 2012, posted to Twitter, RIP Larry King, 87. A television legend.
Actor George Takei thanked King for “the countless interviews and insights … You understood human triumph and frailty equally well, and that is no easy feat. There was no one else like you, and you shall be missed. Rest with the heavens now.”
Former ESPN and MSNBC anchor Keith Olbermann, who now hosts a show on YouTube, offered fond memories of a longtime friend.
“My friend Larry King has died,” Olbermann tweeted. It is literally true that thousands of us can make that sad statement Saturday morning. While he was easily caricatured, I’ve never known anybody who made a bigger deal out of the slightest kindness afforded him.
King had weathered numerous health problems, including a major heart attack in 1987, the removal of a cancerous tumor in 2017, an angioplasty in 2019, and a stroke in March 2019. He also had Type 2 diabetes.
Last year, King lost two of his five children within weeks of each other. Son Andy King died of a heart attack at 65 in August, and daughter Chaia King died from lung cancer at 51 in July, Larry King said then in a statement.
King is survived by three sons, Larry Jr., Chance and Cannon.
King was married eight times, the most recent to actress Shawn King, which lasted 22 years, although they filed for divorce in 2010 and 2019. Each of his previous marriages ended in divorce.
“Funeral arrangements and a memorial service will be announced later in coordination with the King family, who ask for their privacy at this time,” Ora Media said.