American television host, radio host, and paid spokesman, Larry King, has died at the age of 87.
King conducted an estimated 50,000 interviews in his six-decade career, which included 25 years as host of the popular CNN talk show Larry King Live.
He died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, according to Ora Media, a production company he co-founded.
Earlier this month, he was treated in hospital for Covid-19, US media say.
The talk show host, famous for his braces and rolled-up sleeves, had faced several health problems in recent years, including heart attacks.
King was married eight times to seven women and had five children. Two of them died last year within weeks of each other – daughter Chaia died from lung cancer and son Andy of a heart attack.
Born Lawrence Harvey Zeiger in Brooklyn, New York, in 1933, King rose to fame in the 1970s with his radio programme The Larry King Show, on the commercial network Mutual Broadcasting System.
In 1985 he launched Larry King Live on the fledgling CNN, and became one of the network’s biggest stars. The programme, broadcast around the world, was a success with audiences, with King answering thousands of phone calls from viewers.
He earned a number of honours, including two Peabody awards, but was also criticised for his non-confrontational approach and open-ended questions. King boasted of not doing much research for the interviews so, he said, he could learn along with viewers.
By 2010 his ratings had dropped significantly, with critics saying King’s approach felt outdated in an era of more aggressive interviewing styles. King then announced his retirement, saying: “It’s time to hang up my nightly suspenders.”
In his final programme on CNN, he told his viewers: “I don’t know what to say, except to you, my audience, thank you. Instead of goodbye, how about so long?”
Outside broadcasting, King founded the Larry King Cardiac Foundation in 1988, a charity which helps to fund heart treatment for those with limited financial means or no medical insurance.