One of the legends of radio, Don Imus, has died.
Imus passed away on Friday morning at Baylor Scott and White Medical Center in College Station, Texas, after being hospitalized on Christmas Eve, a representative said. The cause of death was not given. He was 79
For nearly six years the veteran morning man had his daily radio show, “Imus in the Morning” simulcast on the Fox Business Network. Imus had been a staple of New York radio since 1971, with a couple of relatively brief timeouts — for substance abuse problems and on-air comments that got him into trouble.
Last year Imus announced his retirement from WABC-AM radio. He left the air March 29th announcing on Twitter: “Turn out the lights… the party’s over.”
Late Friday Fox Business anchor Connell McShane, who worked with Imus during his run at the Fox Business Network said of the controversial radio jock, ““Not many people can say they changed the industry they worked in but the I-Man did. He changed radio, and changed it for the better. It truly was an honor to have the opportunity to work with him, and learn so much from him. He was one of the best natural broadcasters of all-time, and one of the smartest and funniest people I ever met.”
No details yet on plans for a service. However, the family has requested that for memorial donations be made to the Imus Ranch Foundation, which supports charities for children with cancer and other major illnesses.
The Imus Ranch in New Mexico became such an integral part of Imus later life that he moved production of his radio and TV shows. The summer spot for children with cancer — which opened in 1998 to offer young people the “cowboy” experience” — closed in 2014 after Imus broke his ribs in a fall and was unable to breathe at high altitude, according to The Non-Profit Times, which reported on the ranch’s sale.