John Donald Imus, best known for his radio show “Imus In the Morning” passed away on December 27. “Veteran radio and TV broadcaster Don Imus died this morning. He was 79. He had been in the hospital since Christmas Eve, according to a statement from his family,” tweeted CNN correspondent Brian Stelter.
Born in Riverside, California, on July 23, 1940, Imus served in the Marine Corps before setting off on his career as a TV host, recording artist and author. He was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1989. Often referred to as the “Shock Jock,” Imus is survived by his wife Deirdre Imus, whom he married in 1994, and his children, Frederick, Zachary, Elizabeth, Ashley, Nadine and Toni.
His family said in a statement, “Don loved and adored Deirdre, who unconditionally loved him back, loved spending his time watching Wyatt become a highly skilled, champion rodeo rider and calf roper, and loved and supported Zachary, who first met the Imus family at age 10 when he participated in the Imus Ranch program for kids with cancer, having battled and overcome leukemia, eventually becoming a member of the Imus family and Don and Deirdre’s second son.”
Imus had a controversial 50-year career on the radio, his racially charged comments about the Rutgers Women’s basketball team in 2007 encouraged Reverend Al Sharpton to call for audiences to boycott “Imus In the Morning,” which led to him being fired by CBS radio.
However, Imus’s show continued to air on other stations. During his final show in March 2018 he said, “I know you’re going to miss me, but you have no idea how much I’m gonna miss you.” The family will announced funeral plans in the next coming days, and have asked those looking to make a donation to reach out to the Imus Ranch Foundation.
Here’s what you need to know about Don Imus:
1. Imus Had a Net Worth of $45 Million
After five decades on the radio and three published novels, according to Celebrity Net Worth, his net worth at the time of his death was around $45 million.
Before making it big in radio, Imus was an actor and singer-songwriter. He got his first radio job as a DJ in 1968. He then worked at KJOY radio in Stockton, but was fired after saying the word “hell” on air. When Imus started at KXOA in Sacramento, his propensity for jokes and pranks made him a ratings hit.
In 1971, he joined WNBC radio in New York and his show “Imus in The Morning” started to air nationally.
2. Imus Was Diagnosed With Stage 2 Prostate Cancer in 2009
Imus, who had a history of alcoholism and drug use, announced that he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer at age 68. He opened up about his prognosis on-air saying, “I think it was all the stress that caused this.”
“The day you find out is fine,” he continued. “But the next morning when you get up, your knees are shaking. I didn’t think I could make it to work.” But added that he had “great confidence in my doctors. I’ll be fine. If I’m not fine, I won’t be fine. It’s not a big deal. The prognosis couldn’t be better.”
A cause of death was not given after Imus passed away on Friday morning at Baylor Scott and White Medical Center in College Station, Texas. He died after being hospitalized on Christmas Eve, a representative said.
3. Imus Was First Married To Wife Harriet Showalter
The radio host married Harriet Showalter in 1969, and they were married for 10 years before divorcing in 1979. At the time of their union, Showalter had two daughter from a previous relationship, Nadine and Toni. They had two more children together, Ashley and Elizabeth
Imus remarried on December 17, 1994, to Deirdre Coleman, and they welcome a son Frederick in 1998. Later on they adopted another son, Zach. They were still together at the time of Imus’s death.
4. Imus Called The Rutgers Basketball Team ‘Nappy Headed Hoes’
An unfortunate, and one of the most controversial moments in Imus’s career happened on April 3, 2007, while he was discussing the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship. The radio host called them “nappy headed hoes” while adding “the girls from Tennessee, they all look cute, you know.” His initial defensive response to the backlash only continued fire the flames, and he eventually issued the following apology:
“I want to take a moment to apologize for an insensitive and ill-conceived remark we made the other morning regarding the Rutgers women’s basketball team, which lost to Tennessee in the NCAA championship game on Tuesday,” he said. “It was completely inappropriate and we can understand why people were offended. Our characterization was thoughtless and stupid, and we are sorry.”
After he was fired by CBS, he sued them for wrongful termination, and wanted the remaining $40 million on his contract. The parties reached a settlement, which cleared Imus to return to the airwaves with another media outlet.
Celebrity Tributes To The ‘Shock Jock’ On Twitter Were Both Complimentary & Scathing
Not everyone was a huge fan of the “shock jock” and his derisive career was on display after news of his death spread throughout the world.