Controversial radio personality Don Imus dead at 79

Don Imus. Photo: UPI

COLLEGE STATION, Texas, Dec. 27, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — Radio host Don Imus, known for his prickly personality and caustic commentary, has died at age 79.

Imus died Friday morning after being hospitalized in Texas on Christmas Eve, according to reports. His cause of death was not immediately revealed.

He was best known for his three-hour radio show, “Imus in the Morning,” especially popular with the over-25 male demographic.

Radio personality Mike Francesca, host of “Mike and the Mad Dog,” tweeted a tribute on Friday afternoon:

“Shocking news on the passing of my friend, Don Imus. He will long be remembered as one of the true giants in the history of radio.”

“Morning Joe” host Joe Scarborough posted as well:

“‘Morning Joe’ obviously owes its format to Don Imus. No one else could have gotten away with that much talk on cable news. Thanks for everything, Don, and Godspeed.”

“Imus in the Morning” debuted in New York City in 1971 on WNBC-AM. In recent years, it reached listeners through Citadel Media and was simulcast on the Fox Business Network.

In between, Imus was fired several times, usually for his political incorrectness and coarse humor.

In 2007, his show was dropped after he described members of the Rutgers women’s basketball team team as “rough girls” and “nappy-headed hos.”

In fact, Imus was famous for insulting women and religious groups, and for singling out famous people for individual insults. He called media personality Oprah Winfrey “a fat phony”; former First Lady and politician Hillary Clinton “Satan”; journalist Lesley Stahl “a gutless, lying weasel”; and former vice president Dick Cheney a “war criminal.”

Two years after that firing, Imus rebounded with a multi-year contract with Business Network in 2009. That same year, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Imus also was vocal about his long battle with addiction.

Imus and his second wife, Deirdre, founded Imus Ranch in 1999, and welcomed children with cancer to a place they could enjoy summer at a working cattle ranch. It closed in 2014.

Imus retired from radio in March 2018.


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