American talk show host Larry King has died at the age of 87, his media company confirmed.
In a statement posted on King’s official Twitter account, Ora Media said King passed away Saturday morning at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
“For 63 years and on radio, television and digital media platforms, Larry’s many thousands of interviews, awards and global recognition are testament to his unique and enduring talent as a broadcaster,” the statement said.
“Ora Media expresses condolences to 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.
According to CNN and ABC News, the 87-year-old was hospitalized in Los Angeles after testing positive for the virus.
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, King was an integral part of CNN from 1985 to 2010, where he received many awards, including two Peabody Awards.
King conducted an estimated 50,000 on-air interviews. In 1995 he chaired a peace summit in the Middle East with PLO chairman Yasser Arafat, King Hussein of Jordan and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. He greeted everyone from the Dalai Lama to Elizabeth Taylor, from Mikhail Gorbachev to Barack Obama, from Bill Gates to Lady Gaga.
The talk show host had grappled with a number of health issues over the past few years.
In 2017 King announced he was diagnosed with lung cancer and in 2019 he was hospitalized after suffering from angina.
The cause of death was not immediately clear.
Condolences were expressed on social media.
CNN President Jeff Zucker said King had “had a career in history that spanned radio and television.”
“His curiosity for the world drove his award-winning radio career, but it was his generosity of spirit that drew the world to him,” Zucker wrote in a tribute. “We’re so proud of the 25 years he’s spent at CNN, where his Newsmaker interviews really got the network onto the international stage.”
CNN journalist Wolf Blitzer tweeted saying King was a colleague “and a good friend”.
“He’s been a great interviewer and mentor to so many of us,” he wrote. “He loved what he did and we all 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, combining entertainment with news. I loved being on the show,” he wrote. “Larry was one of the best interviewers on TV.”
Former US President Bill Clinton said he enjoyed his 20+ interviews with King.
“He had a great sense of humor and a real interest in people,” said Clinton. “He put the American people straight and worked hard to find out the truth for them, with questions that were direct but fair.”
Oprah Winfrey said, “It has always been a pleasure to sit at your table. And hear your stories. “
“Thank you Larry King,” she wrote in a tweet.
– With files from the Associated Press