Larry King has tragically lost two of his five children within the past few weeks. The legendary chat show host suffered the terrible double tragedy just months after barely surviving a stroke and weeks-long coma himself last year.
King’s son Andy, 65, died suddenly on July 28 from what his family believe to be a heart attack. He was followed by his sister, King’s daughter Chaia, 52, who died on Wednesday following a battle with lung cancer. Andy’s definitive cause of death is still unknown.
“Everyone’s feeling pretty bad and broken”
King’s granddaughter Jillian, 31, said the 86-year-old TV show host was still recovering from his stroke and unable to travel from Los Angeles due to coronavirus. And so he had to watch his Florida-based son be buried on video.
“Everyone’s feeling pretty bad and broken. Larry is really hurt and upset,” Jillian revealed. “He was very sick last year. His kids were all taking very close care of him. He’s upset that he’s lost them now.”
“They were lucky to be together in the end”
Bereaved Jillian described her shock when she heard the news of her father Andy’s sudden passing. Even while she was dealing with yet another death, of her father-in-law in Kentucky earlier in July.
“I was out of town because my husband’s father had passed away so we were up in Kentucky taking care of his funeral when I heard the news,” she said. “My dad passed away July 28. We’re assuming it was a heart attack but there wasn’t ever an autopsy. I was in disbelief when I heard. Chaia, with everything she was going through, was more expected. At least we had time to prepare. But there was no warning with him. It was a shock. They were both such wonderful people. They were lucky to be together in the end.”
“It’s his way of processing”
Jillian said that her father was buried without embalming in a Buddhist-style funeral. ‘He had a Buddhist natural ceremony in Gainesville, Florida,’ she said. ‘He was buried in a shroud without being embalmed, a natural burial.” As for Chaia, “She picked to be buried how her mother was buried, in the same cemetery next to her with a natural burial as well.”
According to reports and insider sources, King has quickly returned to work, hosting Hulu’s Politiking with Larry King, following his children’s death. “He did two live shows. It’s his way of processing.”
King’s 8 marriages
King shared Chaia with his ex-wife Alene Akins. He adopted Andy, Akins’ son from a previous relationship, after the two got married in 196. Akins and King first wed in 1961 and the pair split in 1963. They got back together in 1967 only to divorce again in 1972. Alene died in 2017 while in remission from her second bout of lung cancer. Larry tweeted at the time, “ So very saddened over the passing of Alene Akins, who died peacefully with our children Chaia and Andy by her side. She was a grand lady.”
King has been married a total of eight times.The television host is also father to Larry King Jr. with ex-wife, Annette Kaye. And sons, Cannon and Chance King with ex-wife Shawn King.
King filed for divorce from Shawn, his 7th wife, last year after 22 years together. The divorce came a few months after he suffered a near-fatal stroke. “I’m sorry about the marriage,” King said in an interview at the time. “I’ll always care for my wife. But it just hit a point where we didn’t get along.”
“Andy may have left this earth because his sister would need him more”
Larry’s youngest, Cannon Edward King, 20, took to Instagram to share a heartbreaking tribute to his late siblings.
“This past month has been very difficult for myself, my family, and especially my Dad. A couple weeks ago my brother Andy unexpectedly passed away. Then, late last night my dear sister Chaia peacefully passed away in her sleep due to lung cancer,” Cannon wrote.
“Andy has always been such a strong influence in being so lovingly optimistic. I have NO bad memories of Andy. Neither does my Dad. He embodied what it is to live life to the fullest and cherish every moment. I will miss him so much.”
“Chaia was never bothered by fear and was so positive and faithful. She loved her family and had a great love for animals. Anytime Chaia was around, we were happy. We created fun traditions and never forgot to express our love for each other. I LOVE her so much. I love them both so much. And as DIFFICULT as this is I have a STRONG feeling that Andy may have left this earth because his sister would need him more than we would here. They have such complementary strengths and I KNOW they are embracing each other right now.”
“It’s been a rough year”
Insider sources revealed that “Larry and his three remaining children are distraught, and Larry’s still recovering from his own health issues from last year,” an insider said.
Of his health issues, King spoke in an interview in February, “It’s been a rough year.” King’s stroke came just weeks after he had heart surgery to place a stent. King also suffered a major heart attack in 1987 and had quintuple-bypass surgery. He acknowledged a few of his unhealthy habits prior to his heart attack in the 2004 book, “Taking on Heart Disease.”
“I don’t have any idea of what 2020 is going to be like. But I can still work and I can watch my kids grow up. I feel positive and hopeful,” King said at the time.
“I have less of a fear of dying now”
King, who hosts Ora TV’s Larry King Now, has little memory of the stroke and its immediate aftermath, recalling, “I was driving to the doctor’s office, and I don’t remember anything after that. I woke up in intensive care and I had tubes in me. They told my family I was going to die.”
Shaken, King panicked. “When I came out of [the stroke] and learned what had happened, I had an instant thought and I said to my son, [Chance, 20], ‘I want to die,’ ” said King. “But that was a passing thing. I never had that thought again, or before. And Chance kept me going. He said, ‘You can’t go, you’re not going to go,’ and so I came home.”
Despite his ill health, King shows no signs of slowing down and doesn’t want to retire. “I have less of a fear of dying now,” he explained. “I’m 86 and it is what it is. I just want to keep working until the end. I’d like to die at work. I’ll retire right there!”