Larry King — the broadcasting giant whose interviews with world leaders, global popstars, and Hollywood staples captivated audiences from around the globe — died Saturday morning at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, according to a statement from Ora Media; he was 87 years old.
Earlier this month, it was reported Larry King contracted COVID-19, which later left him hospitalized battling the novel illness. Among the most vulnerable for severe cases of the disease, those in their mid to late 80s have been statically 7-times more likely than the average thirty-something to end up hospitalized for COVID-19 — with death rates for the octogenarian cohort some 630-times higher than people between the age of 18 and 29. Though no cause of death has been officially announced, the millions of watchers who invited King into their homes (via his illustrious roster of television shows and radio broadcasts) continue to reel and mourn the loss of the pioneering media figure and interviewer.
Below reads a statement posted to King's verified Facebook and Twitter accounts announcing his death:
"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 Medical Center in Los Angeles. 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 [...] Larry's interviews from his 25-year run on CNN's 'Larry King Live,' and his Ora Media programs '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. Ora Media sends our condolences to his surviving children Larry, Jr., Chance, Cannon, and the entire King family [...] Funeral arrangements and a memorial service will be announced later in coordination with the King family, who ask for their privacy at this time."
King's passing was later also confirmed by his son, Chance Armstrong King; the full statement does not label a cause of his passing.
Happy Thanksgiving!— Larry King (@kingsthings) November 27, 2020
I’m thankful for my boys and dinner from Craig’s! pic.twitter.com/N91GZA9jOj
One of King's more celebrated interviewer qualities was that he boasted a non-confrontational, even-keeled style when speaking to any of his guests, which historically appealed to a guest who believed it made him more relatable as a person. King, too, was well-known for never "over-preparing for an interview," to help keep his conversational tone with his guests.
"I don't pretend to know it all," he said in a 1995 Associated Press interview, per ABC7. "Not, What about Geneva or Cuba? I ask, Mr. President, what don't you like about this job? Or What's the biggest mistake you made? That's fascinating."
Larry King interviewed everyone, but it was particularly golden when he’d have @kathygriffin on.— jeremy (@jeremycabo) January 23, 2021
You could tell he was always a little baffled but really loved playing along. pic.twitter.com/WjuQCbxdLL
King, who started his media career as a disc jockey at WAHR-AM in Miami circa 1957, battled a number of health problems over the years, most chiefly among them several heart attacks. Per CNN, King underwent quintuple bypass surgery in 1987, which later became the inspiration for him to establish the Larry King Cardiac Foundation — a nonprofit organization that still to this day provides medical assistance to those without insurance. (King also revealed back in 2017 that he was diagnosed with lung cancer and had previously undergone surgery to treat it successfully; King also underwent a procedure in 2019 to address angina, which is a type of chest pain caused by reduced blood flow to the heart.)
After his long run at CNN, King decided to leave the network in 2011 after citing he was expecting himself to retire at that point. Suffice to say his plans of slipping away from the media never really came to fruition. King kept working until his recent hospitalization and consequent death, hosting the "Larry King Now" program that aired on Ora TV, Hulu, and RT America.
"I just love what I do," he said, during the announcement of his newest talk show which debuted in 2012. "I love asking questions, I love doing the interviews."
King’s death follows the unexpected passing of two of his children, Andy King and Chaia King, who each died within weeks of each other from unrelated illnesses.
Rest in peace and power, King. For as long as our days are numbered, we will continue to hold dear this evergreen quote from you: "I remind myself every morning: Nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So if I'm going to learn, I must do it by listening."
Image: Courtesy of Public Domain Archive