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Larry King's widow reveals his cause of death was not COVID-19

Shawn King also shared the family's special tribute to her husband at a private memorial this week.
/ Source: TODAY

Larry King's widow has revealed his cause of death, saying that it was not COVID-19 even though he had been hospitalized with it earlier this month.

The legendary broadcast and television personality died at 87 on Jan. 23 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. His widow, Shawn King, told "Entertainment Tonight" that while the family feared for his life after COVID-19 put him in the intensive-care unit, it was not the cause of death.

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Larry King's widow said COVID-19 was not the cause of his death at 87. Alessio Botticelli / GC Images

"It was an infection, it was sepsis," she said. "Well, he was finally ready to go, I will tell you that. You know, he never wanted to go, but his sweet little body was just — it had just been hit so many times with so many things and once we heard the word COVID, all of our hearts just sunk.

"But he beat it, you know, he beat it, but it did take its toll and then the unrelated infection finally is what took him, but boy, he was not gonna go down easily."

King, who was still hosting two digital talk shows on Ora.Tv and Hulu after retiring from CNN in 2010, had a history of health issues. The New York Post reported that he was hospitalized in November with a blood flow issue. He had also endured heart disease, lung cancer, prostate cancer and a near-fatal stroke in 2019 that left him in a coma for weeks.

Shawn King and their two sons, Chance, 21, and Cannon, 20, had a private funeral for him this week. King is also survived by his son, Larry King Jr., 59, from his marriage to Annette Kaye. His two other children, daughter Chaia, 51, and son Andy, 65, died last year.

His family paid a special tribute to his signature fashion at the private ceremony.

"We all, it was just family, we wore Larry's suspenders, every one of us," Shawn King told "ET." "And it was a beautiful, loving ... just perfect, just perfect. It was family. There was no showbiz, no, none of that."

Shawn and Larry had an up-and-down relationship that included both of them filing for divorce in 2010 but reconciling, and then Larry filing for divorce in 2019. Shawn told "ET" it wasn't finalized.

"In my heart, I didn't think it was really going to happen and it never did," King said. "We were partners in every sense of the way, in business, and in, well, first in our family and then in business. But we're a close family."

His widow said his final message to her over FaceTime was, "I love you, take care of the boys."

"I believe he's still around us and I can feel him," she continued. "I can very, very distinctly feel him around me and around us. And he used to always, you probably have 30 different soundbites of him saying, 'I pinch myself every day. I can't believe this is my life.'

"And he really, really did. So all of these beautiful tributes, you know, I'm sure he's thrilled, and the family, we're all just so happy and so proud of him for all the wonderful things that he did. He did a lot."