Controversial radio broadcaster Don Imus dead at 79

Don Imus

FILE – In this Monday, Oct. 5, 2009 file photo,Radio personality Don Imus interviews Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., by telephone during his debut show on the Fox Business Network in New York. Disc jockey Don Imus, whose career was made and then undone by his acid tongue during a decades-long rise to radio stardom and an abrupt public plunge after a nationally broadcast racial slur, has died, Friday, Dec. 27, 2019. He was 79.(AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

(NBC News) – Radio shock jock Don Imus, one of the early pioneers of his genre, died Friday less than two years after retiring, according to a family statement given to NBC New York.

He was 79.

The controversial morning personality’s last day on the radio was March 29 of last year. He announced Jan. 22 that he was retiring, telling fans: “Turn out the lights … the party’s over.”

The grizzled radioman was best known for his outsize cowboy hat and penchant for making controversial, often offensive, statements.

He was fired from his gig on CBS radio in 2007 for calling the Rutgers University women’s basketball team by a racist slur.

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