Larry King’s Close Friends Share Memories of TV Icon: ‘He Was One of Those People You Thought Would Live Forever’

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Aili Nahas
·2 min read
Larry King’s Close Friends Share Memories of TV Icon: ‘He Was One of Those People You Thought Would Live Forever’
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Larry King, Legendary Journalist and Radio Host, Dies at 87

Larry King's media career spanned more than six decades.

Friends and family are mourning the death of Larry King, who died on Jan. 23 at age 87, three weeks after being admitted to the hospital with COVID-19.

"Larry was one of those people you thought would live forever," his friend and executive producer of Ora TV's Larry King Now, Jason Rovou, tells PEOPLE for one of this week's cover stories. "He had been through so much in his life and he just kept going. He had an indomitable spirit."

Indeed, the prolific TV host, who logged over 60,000 interviews in his 63-year career, survived what he once called "every known malady in the world," including chronic leukemia, prostate cancer, a heart attack and most recently, in 2019, a near-fatal stroke.

Stephen Lovekin/WireImage Larry King

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"Larry lived and lived and relived," says friend Scott Lazerson, the former executive director of the Larry King Cardiac Foundation. "He had nine lives, if not more."

And according to friends, the legendary straight-shooter was the same onscreen as he was off.

"He was the same inquisitive, disarming, maddening person that you would see on TV," says Rovou of King. "He would ask everyone 1,000 questions. He couldn't help it! It's who he was."

Getty Images Larry King and Hugh Grant

RELATED: Larry King's Son Larry Jr. Opens Up About His 'Loyal and Kind' Dad: 'He Had an Indomitable Spirit'

King was also exceedingly generous. In 2004, when Lazerson was diagnosed with cancer, King "quietly paid my mortgage," he says. "I guarantee there are thousands more stories like that."

NurPhoto/Getty Images Larry King

But the Lifetime Achievement Emmy winner was nothing if not humble.

"I did a great many international trips with Larry and he was always surprised when people recognized him," recalls David Theall, a former producer on Larry King Live and executive producer on PoliticKING with Larry King. "He was always shocked!"

RELATED: Larry King's Life in Photos

At home, King was just as easily pleased by a well done cheeseburger, watching old Hollywood films or seeing his beloved Dodgers play ball. "He also had a terrific sense of humor," recalls Theall. "Larry got the biggest thrill out of making others laugh."

Ultimately, "his body of work and his trove of interviews will make him live on forever," says Rovou. "It's comforting. Because you think of Larry as immortal, and in a way, he is."