Legendary broadcaster Larry King dies at 87

Broadcast journalist Larry King died Saturday. He was 87.

Larry King attends the 45th International Emmy Awards at the New York Hilton, in New York in November 2017. (Photo: Andy Kropa/Invision/AP)

King died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, Ora Media, the studio and network he co-founded, tweeted. No cause of death was given, but CNN had earlier reported he was hospitalised with COVID-19.

A longtime nationally syndicated radio host, from 1985 through 2010 he was a nightly fixture on CNN, where he won many honors, including two Peabody awards.

He was born Lawrence Harvey Zeiger in 1933, a son of Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe who ran a bar and grill in Brooklyn. But after his father’s death when Larry was a boy, he faced a troubled, sometimes destitute youth.

He was just 18 when he married high school girlfriend Freda Miller, in 1952. The marriage lasted less than a year. In subsequent decades he would marry Annette Kay, Alene Akins (twice), Mickey Sutfin, Sharon Lepore and Julie Alexander.

In 1997, he wed Shawn Southwick, a country singer and actress 26 years his junior. They would file for divorce in 2010, rescind the filing, then file for divorce again in 2019.

The couple had two sons, King’s fourth and fifth kids, Chance Armstrong, born in 1999, and Cannon Edward, born in 2000. In 2020, King lost his two eldest children, Andy King and Chaia King, who died of unrelated health problems within weeks of each other.

He had many other medical issues in recent decades, including more heart attacks and diagnoses of type 2 diabetes and lung cancer.

Early in 2021, CNN reported that King was hospitalised for more than a week with COVID-19.