FRANKLIN, Tenn. (WKRN) — Conservative radio talk show host Phil Valentine has died after weeks in a Nashville area hospital battling COVID-19, according to his station, SuperTalk 99.7 WTN.
During a live broadcast at 4:15 p.m. Saturday, several of Valentine’s coworkers and close friends announced they had spoken with Valentine’s brother Mark, who confirmed the 61-year-old passed away earlier in the afternoon.
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Valentine had been hospitalized for more than a month while battling the coronavirus. His family revealed on July 22 that he was “in very serious condition” and was suffering from “covid pneumonia,” along with other side effects of the virus.
Days later, relatives said Valentine was placed on a ventilator.
Valentine, who hosted The Phil Valentine Show on Nashville’s SuperTalk 99.7 WTN, had confirmed July 11 on his Facebook page that he had tested positive for COVID. He spoke about his battle with the virus on his radio show.
“I think I’m on the other side of it,” Valentine said of the virus, as he described coughing, congestion, and fatigue that “hurts like crap.”
He added, “I’m certainly moving forward, it appears, but not in a straight line… It’s just one of those things. I don’t want it to linger on.”
Valentine had previously expressed his disagreement with mask mandates, stating that hospitals were never in danger of being overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients. He had also been critical of the virus vaccines, voicing his concerns over their safety.
“Phil would like for his listeners to know that while he has never been an ‘anti-vaxer’ he regrets not being more vehemently ‘Pro-Vaccine’ and looks forward to being able to more vigorously advocate that position as soon as he is back on the air, which we all hope will be soon,” his family wrote in their initial statement after his hospitalization.
That statement concluded, “PLEASE GO GET VACCINATED!”
Tennessee Governor Bill Lee addressed Valentine’s death Saturday evening on social media: “Maria and I are deeply saddened by the loss of Phil Valentine and pray for his family as they navigate the difficult days ahead.”
A short time later, U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn issued a statement: “Phil Valentine was a visionary for the conservative movement. He made an enormous impact on the lives of many Tennesseans as an esteemed radio host, actor, and author. It was a privilege to know Phil, and I know his legacy will endure. My deepest condolences and prayers are with Phil’s wife, Susan, and his family. May they be comforted and surrounded by love during this difficult time.”
U.S. Senator Bill Hagerty posted to Twitter: “Very sad news for our state! Tennessee has lost a strong conservative voice who will be sorely missed. Chrissy and I extend our condolences and deepest sympathies to the entire Valentine family, Phil’s many friends, and his colleagues and faithful listeners at @997wtn.”
Lt. Gov. Randy McNally also expressed his condolences Saturday night on social media, asking people to consider getting vaccinated: “Deeply saddened that we have lost Phil Valentine to COVID-19. He was an inspirational and persuasive conservative voice. He will be greatly missed. If you haven’t yet done so, please consider vaccination. It is the only way to defeat this scourge.”
Funeral arrangements for Valentine are pending. No other information was immediately released.