King died on the morning of Jan. 23 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California at the age of 87, just weeks after being hospitalized in late December with the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, which causes the disease COVID-19.
No cause of death was given at the time of passing, though the broadcaster’s wife, Shawn Southwick, told Entertainment Tonight in late January he didn’t die from the CCP virus.
“It was an infection, it was sepsis,” she told the outlet, which is likely to have been triggered by an infection after recovering from COVID-19.
“Well, he was finally ready to go, I will tell you that. You know, he never wanted to go but his sweet little body was just, it had just been hit so many times with so many things and once we heard the word COVID, all of our hearts just sunk,” she continued. “But he beat it, you know, he beat it, but it did take its toll and then the unrelated infection finally is what took him, but boy, he was not gonna go down easily.”
According to the certificate, sepsis was King’s primary cause of death, a life-threatening medical emergency triggered by a bacterial infection that most often starts in the lungs, urinary tract, skin, or gastrointestinal tract.
King also had two underlying health conditions that include acute hypoxic respiratory—a lack of oxygen in the blood—and kidney failure, which were both listed as secondary causes of death on the certificate obtained by People magazine.
The suspenders-sporting everyman was born Lawrence Harvey Zeiger in 1933 and conducted an estimated 50,000 on-air interviews. He held broadcast interviews with world leaders and ordinary Joes for a half-century.
King, who preferred to enter interviews unprepared, leaves behind three children and his wife, who he was in the middle of divorcing.
“We are heartbroken over our father’s death, and together with our extended family mourn his passing,” King’s three children, Larry King, Jr., Chance King, and Cannon King wrote in a statement on Jan. 24, one day after the legendary broadcaster’s death.
“The world knew Larry King as a great broadcaster and interviewer, but to us, he was ‘dad,'” they continued. “He was an amazing father, and he was fiercely loyal to those lucky enough to call him a friend.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.