South Florida radio host Dick Farrel, 65, an avid supporter of former President Donald Trump, has died from reported complications from COVID-19.
"He was known as the other Rush Limbaugh," Kit Farley, Farrel's partner, wrote on Facebook, Deadline reported Saturday.
"With a heavy heart, I can only say this was so unexpected. He will be missed."
Farrel, whose legal name is Farrel Austin Levitt, filled in as a guest host on Newsmax in 2018 after his radio station WFLN was sold in 2016.
"Dick Farrel was a great friend of Newsmax and myself for over 20 years," Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy said.
"Dick was a fun spirit, true mensch and great American. He will be missed."
Farrel was motivated to become a talk host to follow in the footsteps of his friend and mentor, the late WABC host Bob Grant.
"COVID took one of my best friends! RIP Dick Farrel," close friend Amy Leigh Hair wrote on Facebook, saying Farrel's skepticism of the COVID-19 vaccines abated when he contracted the virus in his final days, according to WPTV-5 Florida.
"He is the reason I took the shot. He texted me and told me to 'Get it!' He told me this virus is no joke and he said, 'I wish I had gotten it!'"
Hair told the West Palm Beach TV station she is no longer skeptical of the need to be vaccinated.
"I was one of one the people like him who didn't trust the vaccine," she added. "I trusted my immune system. I just became more afraid of getting COVID-19 than I was of any possible side effects of the vaccine. I'm glad I got vaccinated."
Lee Strasser, former market general manager for CBS Radio West Palm Beach, hired Farrel in the 1990s.
"Dick was flamboyant, outrageous at times, and willing to take on any and all comers," Strasser told WPTV. "He loved to engage with local politicians and pulled no punches.
"Was he right all the time? No," Strasser continued. "But he was 'right' all the time, especially if you asked him. Did he stay out of trouble? Not always. Was he great with clients? Yes. Was he a pleasure in the building? Absolutely. Was he loyal? Unquestionably! Was he skilled? Yes sir! His passing is a big loss. He was a kind-hearted person with a load of passion, and his memory will stand the test of time. We have all lost a friend in Farrel."
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