Jerry Springer has died.
The legendary talk show host - whose self-titled show ran from 1991 to 2018 - passed away at his Chicago home at the age of 79, with a family spokesperson telling TMZ on Thursday he had taken a turn for the worse this week after battling cancer for a few months.
Jene Galvin, a friend and spokesman for the family, said: “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.
“He’s irreplaceable and his loss hurts immensely, but memories of his intellect, heart and humour will live on.”
The former “America's Got Talent” presenter - whose last TV appearance came when he was The Beetle on the last season of “The Masked Singer” - is survived by his daughter, Katie Springer, and sister Evelyn.
Before shooting to fame with his talk show, Springer was a politician who made a failed bid for US congress in 1970 but was elected to Cincinatti's City Council in 1971 and served as the city's mayor for one term after being elected in 1977.
The former lawyer previously suggested his talk show - which had memorable episodes including "I Married A Horse", "I'm Happy I Cut Off My Legs" and "You Slept With My Stripper Sister" - was so successful because it never pretended to be serious and viewers loved the "outrageous" guests he features.
He told the Daily Express newspaper in 2018: "The show has lasted so long because it is stupid. It has got a niche.
“It is about outrageous personal relationships and because it is so outrageous other shows don't try and copy it. It is so crazy we own that turf. And we aim towards young people."