Jerry Springer’s Longtime Friend Confirms His Cause Of Death

The notorious talk show host died on Thursday at age 79 in suburban Chicago.
Jerry Springer in 2019.
Jerry Springer in 2019.
Gary Gershoff via Getty Images

Jerry Springer’s cause of death has been confirmed by his longtime friend and spokesperson Jean Galvin.

The notorious TV host and former mayor of Cincinnati — who was the face of his eponymous show, an over-the-top cultural phenomenon, for nearly 30 years — died Thursday in suburban Chicago. He was 79.

Springer died from pancreatic cancer, Galvin confirmed to NBC News on Thursday. He was reportedly only diagnosed with the illness a few months ago, per Page Six.

Springer on his show in 1998.
Springer on his show in 1998.
Getty Images via Getty Images

“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 told multiple outlets on Thursday. “He’s irreplaceable and his loss hurts immensely, but memories of his intellect, heart and humor will live on.”

While many fans mourned Springer’s death this week, not everyone remembers him fondly. In the wake of his death, many transgender people and their allies have spoken out about the harm his show caused them. “Jerry Springer” was one of the few shows in the 1990s where openly trans women were visible at all, and the host typically exploited them for entertainment. (Springer himself protested the accusations of transphobia during his lifetime.)

Security guard Steve Wilkos (second from left) and another guard separate and restrain fighting guests on the "Jerry Springer" show.
Security guard Steve Wilkos (second from left) and another guard separate and restrain fighting guests on the "Jerry Springer" show.
Ralf-Finn Hestoft via Getty Images

Fellow talk show host Maury Povich paid tribute to Springer on Twitter Thursday, describing him as “joyful, smart and, in his own way, a unique showman” (though he acknowledged they were “friendly rivals”).

“He was a joy to be with,” Povich said. “He was very funny. He always loved to tell jokes. And some of the jokes were terribly stale.”

Springer and Povich’s shows were similar in their sensationalist nature, but while Povich was known for revealing the results of paternity tests, Springer was famed for spurring his guests into violent outbursts.

The “Jerry Springer” show launched in 1991 as a space for political commentary, but it was revamped in 1994 to its better-known rage-fueled format. It ran until 2018.

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