Famed Talk Show Host Jerry Springer Dead At 79

Famed television personality and talk show host Jerry Springer has sadly died at 79. The star died "peacefully" at his home in suburban Chicago, per a statement from the star's family. "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," the star's spokesperson and friend, Jene Galvin, said in a statement, per WLWT. "He's irreplaceable, and his loss hurts immensely, but memories of his intellect, heart, and humor will live on." 

TMZ reports that sources close to the star revealed that Springer battled a "brief illness" before he died. The outlet adds that doctors diagnosed Springer with pancreatic cancer in the months before his death, and his health deteriorated quickly this week. 

Springer's death comes less than one year after he officially retired from his robust career in television career. "I'm 78 and have been in front of the camera now for 40 years, plus 10 years in politics. I'm winding down," Springer told WVXU. "I want to try out retirement while I'm still healthy ... It's been a 50-year run of being such a public person. I'm looking forward to getting up in the morning and not have a busy day filled with television production and promotion." Unfortunately, Springer didn't get to enjoy his well-deserved break for as long as he'd hoped.

Social Media is taking Jerry Springer's death hard

As Twitter and Instagram users share sentimental tributes to Jerry Springer, it's clear news of his death is hitting his fans hard. Comic and fellow host Loni Love posted a selfie with Springer and shared a heartfelt anecdote. "What I loved about Jerry Springer was the way he connected with people in a unique and authentic manner," she captioned the Instagram post. "This is why as a talk show host he excelled... condolences to his family and fans on his passing." Some fans are simply in disbelief over the news. "'rip jerry springer' tf you mean jerry springer is dead???" tweeted one fan.

An especially sentimental faction of fans are speaking on the nostalgia of watching Springer's controversial talk show as kids. "RIP Jerry Springer. He was there every sick day growing up," tweeted one fan. The tweet has since amassed more than 16,000 likes as of this writing. Of course, there are plentiful callbacks to Springer's unique brand of content, which often glorified various shades of dysfunctional living. "Jerry Springer is a real GOAT, man," tweeted another fan. "Would show you 58 minutes of ratchetness and then wrap it up with some Socrates level wisdom at the very end. One time for a Sick day hall of famer."

No matter your personal opinion of Springer's content, he definitely made an undeniable impact across several generations of TV viewers. 

Jerry Springer had a controversial legacy (and he knew it)

In every way that probably mattered to TV studios, Jerry Springer's show was an incredibly successful endeavor. According to IMDb, "The Jerry Springer Show" first premiered in 1991 and remained on the air until 2018, surviving the end of other notable '90s talk shows, including "The Montell Williams Show," The Ricki Lake Show," and even "The Oprah Winfrey Show!" It also paid Springer, who was worth $60 million, per Celebrity Net Worth, quite well. "The Jerry Springer Show" was best known for its low-brow drama and onstage fights between guests, and Springer, for his part, was well aware his television legacy made splashes.

During his 2022 episode of the "Behind the Velvet Rope" podcast, Springer chided his role in the outrageous antics on his show. "No, I just apologize," Springer replied when asked his thoughts about his show. "I'm so sorry. What have I done? I've ruined the culture," he teased. "I just hope hell isn't that hot because I burn real easy." Springer went on to describe himself as "just a schlub who got lucky" in showbiz. Before he was the king of controversial daytime TV, Springer was once a serious student, bonafide political candidate, and the even the Mayor of Cincinnati. 

In 1998, Sen. Joe Lieberman petitioned to have Springer's show removed from air. "The kind of perversity and violence on that show every day has to have a bad effect on the people and children who watch it," Lieberman said (via the New York Daily News). "Springer is not a network show. You make the decision to carry it. It's not worth it ... If you can't do that, at least put it on late at night so that fewer kids are watching."