Radio shock jock Don Imus died December 27 in College Station, Texas as a result of lung disease at the age of 79. He was surrounded by family at the time of his death.
Imus was best known for his national radio show where he was known for speaking his mind and not caring whom he hurt or bullied. Never one to miss a chance to stir up the pot, Imus referred to himself as, “ an all-inclusive offender”.
It was one such remark that cost Imus his job and his fame when he referred to the Rutgers female basketball team as a bunch of “nappy-headed ho’s.”
Despite numerous apologies for his unacceptable behaviour, Imus never fully recovered from his mistake. Prior to his acidic rants, Time magazine had named Imus one of the most 25 influential Americans.
However, he was not always filled with nasty remarks and slurs; away from the microphone, Imus was a philanthropist who raised millions of dollars for organizations including the CJ Foundation for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and ran a ranch in New Mexico for children with terminal illnesses. The pediatric medical center at the Hackensack University Medical Center bears his name.
He was born John Donald Imus Jr on July 23, 1940 in Riverside, California, the oldest of two boys. Before becoming a radio personality at age 28, Imus served in the United States Marines, was a freight train brakeman, and a uranium miner.
The former “Disc Jockey of the Year” worked at a number of radio stations around the country where he would cold call people waking them up to ask outrageous questions or to become the radio evangelist the Reverend Billy Sol Hargis.
His propensity for vodka and later cocaine cost him a job more than once.
After a stint in rehab, Imus returned to the microphone and earned himself a spot in the Radio Hall of Fame. By the time Imus retired, he had been in the radio business nearly 50 years.
Imus is survived by his second wife Deidre and children; Nadine, Ashley, Elizabeth, Toni, Wyatt, and Zachary.
feature photo credit: By Michael Rhys – https://www.flickr.com/photos/michaelrhys/40428909, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1893800