Veteran television and radio host Larry King died on Saturday at the age of 87. An official statement on his Twitter said he died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. The statement did not mention how he died, but reports earlier this month said that King had tested positive for the coronavirus.
“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,” the statement read. “Additionally, while it was his name appearing in the show’s 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.”
King had a heart attack in 1987 and was later treated twice for cancer.
The renowned television host interviewed iconic leaders and celebrities during his career spanning six decades. He became a household name with his CNN show Larry King Live, which ran from 1985 to 2010. In 2011, he received an Emmy award for lifetime achievement, a year after he announced his retirement. He conducted around 50,000 interviews on air, according to AP.
King interviewed every US president including Donald Trump – who was on his show numerous times – and other world leaders such as Vladimir Putin, and hundreds of celebrities. According to Los Angeles Times, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, when asked why he had gone on King’s show, said: “First, because it’s Larry and second because it’s live. I know America watches him.”
In 2020, King’s eldest two children died within weeks of each other due to unrelated health problems. He is survived by three children.
After the news of his demise, tributes began to pour in. CNN news anchor Jim Acosta tweeted that King would be missed. “Broadcasting legend and longtime CNN host Larry King has passed away,” he tweeted. “He will be missed by so many CNN employees past and present.”
TV show host and lawyer Ebuka Obi-Uchendu tweeted: “Rest in peace Larry King. I learnt everything from you. Everything! Breaks my heart that we never met. Thank you for the everlasting legacy. Thank you.”
Radio host and author Matt Jones said he loved King. “He would interview anyone of any type and get something interesting out of them,” he tweeted. “As a kid, I watched his show and thought his job was fascinating and he was oddly unique. No cable news show has ever been better.”