Jerry Springer, the controversial TV host, has died. He was 79.
TMZ reports that Springer died at home in the Chicago area on Thursday. A spokesperson told the outlet Springer had been battling cancer since his diagnosis a few months ago.
His death comes after the TV legend “took a turn for the worse” earlier this week, per TMZ.
Page Six also confirmed Springer’s death. Jene Galvin, a friend and spokesman for Springer’s family, told the outlet, “Jerry’s ability to connect with people was at the heart of his success in everything he tried whether that was politics, broadcasting or just joking with people on the street who wanted a photo or a word.”
Galvin added, “He’s irreplaceable and his loss hurts immensely, but memories of his intellect, heart and humor will live on.”
Springer was best known for his eponymous series, The Jerry Springer Show, which first premiered in 1991 and ran until 2018. The show was known for its outrageous segments, including one episode that featured a man married to a horse, per Variety.
“The Springer guests were not only sexually transgressive in the minds of the audience — the vast majority came from the lower end of the social spectrum, many with thick regional accents — accentuating the in-studio and at-home audience’s belief that they were above these people, who were deserving of mockery and harsh judgment,” Variety notes.
Before his talk show fame, Springer was already a well-known figure in Cincinnati, where he was elected mayor in 1977 and served one term. He later made an unsuccessful bid for Ohio governor in 1982. After his loss, he launched his media career, working as a news anchor and commentator at local station WLWT prior to Springer.
When Springer came to an end after nearly two decades on air, its host still stayed in the spotlight with his court show Judge Jerry, which aired for three seasons.
He recently appeared on The Masked Singer, where he performed a Frank Sinatra song while disguised as The Beetle.
Springer is by his daughter, Katie Springer, and his sister, Evelyn.