American talk show host Larry King has died, at age 87, his media company confirmed.
In a statement posted to King’s official twitter account, Ora Media said King passed away Saturday morning at Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre 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,” the statement read.
“Ora Media sends our condolences to his surviving children, Larry Jr., Chance, Canon and the entire King family.”
The news comes just weeks after King was reportedly hospitalized after contracting the novel coronavirus.
Ora Media said funeral arrangements and a memorial service will be announced later “in coordination with the King family.”
A longtime nationally syndicated radio host, from 1985 through 2010 King was a nightly fixture on CNN, where he won many honours, including two Peabody awards.
King conducted an estimated 50,000 on-air interviews. In 1995 he presided over a Middle East peace summit with PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat, King Hussein of Jordan and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. He welcomed everyone from the Dalai Lama to Elizabeth Taylor, from Mikhail Gorbachev to Barack Obama, Bill Gates to Lady Gaga.
The talk show host had battled through a number of health issues in the last several years.
In 2017, King revealed he had been diagnosed with lung cancer, and in 2019 he was hospitalized after suffering from angina.
The cause of death was not immediately clear.
Condolences began to pour in on social media.
CNN President Jeff Zucker said King “had a history-making career spanning radio and television.”
“His curiosity about the world propelled his award-winning career in broadcasting, but it was his generosity of spirit that drew the world to him,” Zucker wrote in a tribute. “We are so proud of the 25 years he spent with CNN, where his newsmaker interviews truly put the network on the international stage.”
CNN journalist Wolf Blitzer tweeted, saying King was a colleague “and good friend.”
“He was an amazing interviewer and mentor to so many of us,” he wrote. “He loved what he did and all of us loved him.”
“My deepest condolences to his loving family,” Blitzer continued. “May he rest in peace and may his memory be a blessing.”
NBA star Magic Johnson said King was “one of the best interviewers on TV.”
“Larry King Live changed CNN in the 80s blending entertainment with news & I loved being on the show,” he wrote. “Larry was one of the best interviewers on TV.”
Former U.S. president Bill Clinton said he enjoyed his 20+ interviews with King.
“He had a great sense of humour and a genuine interest in people,” Clinton said. “He gave a direct line to the American people and worked hard to get the truth for them, with questions that were direct but fair.”
Oprah Winfrey said “it was always a treat to sit at your table. And hear your stories.”
“Thank you Larry King,” she wrote in a tweet.
-With files from the Associated Press