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Larry King was open about his wish 'to be frozen' after his death

The late television legend discussed the idea of "being frozen" and waking up someday again "in 100 years" in various interviews.
Television host King arrives at the opening night of the UCLA Film and Television Archive film series "Champion: The Stanley Kramer Centennial" and world premiere screening of "Death of a Salesman" in Los Angeles
Television and radio host Larry King opened up multiple times about his desire to be cryogenically frozen after his death.Gus Ruelas / Reuters
/ Source: TODAY

News of Larry King's death at age 87 broke on Saturday morning, weeks after he had been reportedly hospitalized with COVID-19.

For years, the late television icon had spoken candidly about death in various appearances, telling interviewers that he wanted to "be frozen" after he passed because he didn't believe in the afterlife.

Last January, King discussed his career, health scares and his thoughts on dying with Los Angeles television station KTLA.

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“I used to be afraid of death and now I’m not afraid of death,” King told anchor Frank Buckley. “I don’t know what changed."

Buckley pointed out that King was famously afraid of death, to which the legendary host replied, “I still read the obits and I also looked into the idea of being frozen because then, I’d wake up in 100 years and they cured whatever I died of, and I’m alive again.

“Someone said to me, ‘But, you won’t know anybody?’ and I said, ‘I’ll make new friends,’” King joked. “I’m not afraid of it now because it’s the one thing all of us are going to face. And when you face all these illnesses and you can come through and buy some time — I’m 86. What’s the average age of the American male? 76? 77? I beat it by 10 years.”

King brought up his wish to be frozen during a 2011 TV special "CNN Presents: A Larry King Special: Dinner with the Kings," where he talked openly with celebrities like Seth MacFarlane and Conan O'Brien. Three years later, O'Brien brought up the topic of cryopreservation again when King visited him on the set of "Conan" and said he had been "shocked" to hear of King's plans.

“I don’t believe in an afterlife. I can’t, I just never accepted it," he explained. "I never made that leap of faith. So, that means when you die, it’s bye-bye baby.

"So the only hope, the only fragment of hope, is to be frozen and then someday, they cure whatever you died of, and you’re back.”

King also appeared on "The Dr. Oz Show" in March 2015 to discuss the idea of being frozen and "living forever."

“This is not sci-fi anymore. Now, there’s the ability to do cryopreservation," Oz said before asking King, "So what is your hope?”

“I think when you die, that’s it," King replied. "I don’t want that to be it. I want to be around. So I figured the only chance I have is to be frozen, and then, if they cure whatever I died of, I come back. ... Is it a better thought than being in the ground? Being cremated?”

King later referenced this appearance during a panel, "A Life in Broadcasting: A Conversation With Larry King," later that month.

“When you get to be 80 – you’ll be 80 someday – aging is a b----,” he told Leon Harris, the moderator of the panel. “I feel good, I got no complaints, but I had a heart attack, heart surgery, type 2 diabetes, prostate cancer secured with radiation. I take my medication. I take my HGH (human growth hormone) every day. I’m in good health, but I fear the end and I don’t want it to end.”

When asked why he feared the end, King replied, “I don’t think I’m going anywhere else after this.”

“But I want to be frozen,” he said. “I was on 'Dr. Oz' and Dr. Oz showed me exactly what they do. When you die, they inject you with a fluid that keeps blood circulating through and they take it and they freeze you in a certain compound and put you in a tube. They have it all labeled. It’s in New Hampshire and in Phoenix … it’s $135,000, you put it in your will, they know to come to the hospital right away. If you died of cancer ... and they cure it, they revive you.”

According to the New York Times in August 2015, King had made arrangements to have his body frozen for the "Ted Williams treatment" and thawed out at a later date after a cure is found for “whatever killed him," something that had given him a shred of hope.

“Other people have no hope," he said.

King's death was announced on Saturday in a statement posted to his Twitter. "With profound sadness, Ora Media announces the death of our co-founder, host, and friend Larry King, who passed away this morning at age 87 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles."

The statement continued in part, "Larry's interview from his 25-year run on CNN's 'Larry King Live,' and his Ora Media programs 'Larry King Now,' and 'Politicking with Larry King' are consistently referenced by media outlets around the world and remain part of the historical record of the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

"Ora Media sends our condolences to his surviving children Larry, Jr., Chance, Cannon and the entire King family."