On Jan. 23, 2021, Emmy-winning TV journalist Larry King — who was known for his high-profile interviews and his trademark suspenders — died at the age of 87. Larry's cause of death was not immediately announced, However a source close to his family told CNN at the time that he was hospitalized with COVID-19 in late December 2020. One lingering question remained: What happened to him, exactly?
What happened to Larry King?
By February 2021, the public was made aware of what happened to Larry. The immediate cause of death was sepsis, according to his death certificate obtained by People. Additionally, Larry had two underlying conditions that led to sepsis: acute hypoxic respiratory failure (not having enough oxygen in his blood) and end stage renal disease (kidney failure).
“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,” a statement on Larry’s official Twitter account read. “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.”
He hosted ‘Larry King Live’ for 25 years.
Born Lawrence Harvey Zeiger to Jewish immigrants in Brooklyn, N.Y., Larry started his career in 1957 with a job as a disc jockey at WAHR-AM in Miami, according to CNN. In 1978, he launched the syndicated late-night radio show The Larry King Show which spread from 28 cities to 118 cities within five years and won a Peabody Award in 1982.
Why did Larry King leave CNN?
In 1985, Larry launched Larry King Live on CNN, a show that became the cable network's most-watched program as Larry conducted more than 30,000 interviews — including chats with every sitting president from Gerald Ford to Barack Obama.
Larry left CNN in 2011 and co-founded the on-demand television network Ora TV, through which he hosted the shows Larry King Now and Politicking With Larry King.
The journalist also wrote a USA Today column that ran for nearly 20 years and famously featured his rambling thoughts and non-sequiturs.
The TV host kept his questions simple.
“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 added.
“Additionally, while it was his name appearing in the shows’ titles, Larry always viewed his interview subjects as the true stars of his programs, and himself as merely an unbiased conduit between the guest audience. Whether he was interviewing a U.S. president, foreign leader, celebrity, scandal-ridden personage, or an everyman, Larry liked to ask short, direct, and uncomplicated questions. He believed consisted questions usually provided the best answers, and he was not wrong in that belief.”
As CNN observed, Larry also let his guests do most of the pontificating, rarely interrupting their thoughts. “I’ve never learned anything while I was talking,” he once said.
Larry is survived by three sons.
Larry was married eight times — most recently to Shawn Southwick, his wife from 1997 to their separation in 2019 — and had five kids. Two of his adult children died within weeks of each other last year: His son Andy died at 65 of a heart attack in July 2020, and the following month, his daughter Chaia King died at 52 after a lung cancer diagnosis.
Larry is survived by three sons, Larry King Jr., Chance King, and Cannon King, and one daughter, Kelly King.