America is mourning the loss of two icons in their respected fields, baseball great Hank Aaron and legendary broadcaster Larry King.
Larry King passed away early Saturday morning at 87 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. No cause of death was given, but he had been moved into the ICU with COVID-19 on New Year’s Eve, although he was reportedly improving in recent days.
King began his 63-year broadcast career as a radio DJ and interviewer in 1957, where he would set up in a Miami restaurant and interview whoever walked in the door. He would go on to interview every newsmaker of his era, from criminals to world leaders. He also wrote books and a newspaper column, and seemingly invincible, survived lung cancer, Type 2 diabetes, multiple heart attacks, quintuple bypass surgery, and most famously, eight marriages to seven different women.
King revealed that the secret of his interviews was lack of research. He felt that interviewing subjects without knowing too much about them in advance made the conversation more natural and more relatable to listeners, since he would be asking the same questions they might ask. It sounds odd, and it sometimes led to some hilariously out-of-left-field moments, but it was always entertaining.
Hank Aaron’s family also reported Friday that the baseball legend had died at 86 of undisclosed causes.
Aaron was a giant from the era before baseball’s steroid scandals and political controversies. He started in the Negro Leagues in 1951, then played in the Major Leagues from 1954 to 1976. He hit more than 40 home runs during eight seasons, played in 25 All-Star Games, and still holds the all-time RBI record with 2,297.
The greatest moment of his career came on April 8, 1974, while playing for the Atlanta Braves, when he became the first player to break Babe Ruth’s record by hitting his 715th career home run (he would later retire as MLB’s all-time home run leader with 755.) That 715th home run was a milestone event not just for sports, but for US history, pop culture and race relations, with a crowd in Georgia giving a roaring standing ovation to a black player for breaking the record of a white baseball icon.
Aaron was also a sports hero who lived up to his image as an idol to American youth, and was famous for his decency, humility, business success and major philanthropic work.