Larry King has broken his silence after losing two of his adult children who died within three weeks apart.
‘It is with sadness and a father’s broken heart that I confirm the recent loss of two of my children, Andy King, and Chaia King. Both of them were good and kind souls and they will be greatly missed,’ the legendary chat show host said in a heartbreaking Facebook post on Saturday.
‘Losing them feels so out of order. No parent should have to bury a child. My family and I thank you for your outpouring of kind sentiments and well wishes. In this moment, we need a little time and privacy to heal. I thank you for respecting that,’ he added.
Larry suffered the terrible double tragedy just months after barely surviving a stroke and weeks-long coma himself last year.
His son Andy, 65, died suddenly on July 28 from what his family believes to be a heart attack.
He was followed by his sister, King’s daughter Chaia, 52, who died on Wednesday following a battle with lung cancer.
Larry’s granddaughter Jillian, 31, said the host was still recovering from his stroke and unable to travel from Los Angeles due to coronavirus, and so he had to watch his Florida-based son be buried on video.
‘Everyone’s feeling pretty bad and broken. Larry is really hurt and upset,’ Jillian told DailyMail.com in an exclusive interview.
‘He was very sick last year. His kids were all taking very close care of him. He’s upset that he’s lost them now.’
Larry has three other children; Larry Jr, 58, from his brief marriage to Annette Kaye, and sons Chance, 21, and Cannon, 20, from his marriage to Shawn King.
Bereaved Jillian described her shock when she heard the news of her father Andy’s sudden passing – even while she was dealing with yet another death, of her father-in-law in Kentucky earlier in July.
‘I was out of town because my husband’s father had passed away so we were up in Kentucky taking care of his funeral when I heard the news,’ she said.
‘My dad passed away July 28. We’re assuming it was a heart attack but there wasn’t ever an autopsy.
‘I was in disbelief when I heard. Chaia, with everything she was going through, was more expected. At least we had time to prepare. But there was no warning with him. It was a shock.’
Larry adopted Andy, whose full name was Louis Andrew King, in 1962 after marrying his mother Alene Akins.
The couple wed in 1961, divorced in 1967, and remarried again from 1967 to 1972. They had daughter Chaia together in 1969.
Alene died in 2017 while in remission from her second bout of lung cancer, Jillian said.
The bereaved daughter told DailyMail.com her father was a ‘wonderful’ person and ‘always optimistic’.
‘We were all at his sister’s house the Wednesday before he passed. It was just a happy family gathering,’ she said. ‘When I left, he told me he loved me and he’d talk to me soon.
‘They were both such wonderful people. They were lucky to be together in the end.
‘He was always optimistic, always wanting to take an adventure. Larry was his father, he saw him quite often.
‘He did a little bit of everything. He got a pilot’s license for fun and used it for drone footage. He was a chef, a videographer, an agriculture specialist, everything.’
Jillian said that her father was buried without embalming in a Buddhist-style funeral.
‘He had a Buddhist natural ceremony in Gainesville, Florida,’ she said. ‘He was buried in a shroud without being embalmed, a natural burial. Family spoke at the funeral. Larry couldn’t travel but he had video footage.’
Jillian said Larry’s daughter Chaia died on Wednesday after a long battle with lung cancer.
‘She loved animals, she loved to travel, she loved people. She had a very strong faith belief. She was close to Larry,’ Jillian said.
‘Chaia had been battling cancer for a while. It was just her time I guess.
‘She picked to be buried how her mother was buried, in the same cemetery next to her with a natural burial as well.’
Chaia co-wrote a children’s book with her famous father titled Daddy Day, Daughter Day.
The blurb says that in the illustrated story, the host of Larry King Live and his daughter ‘recount the true story of his divorce and show how quality moments together can help heal the pain of divorce for children.’
A source close to Larry told DailyMail.com he was ‘truly devastated’ by the deaths of two of his children.
‘He barely survived last year through his own ill health; now he’s lost two kids just weeks apart.
‘They came to visit for Father’s Day. It was the last time they were all together and Larry will always cherish it.’
The TV host’s youngest son, 20-year-old Cannon, posted a picture of Larry with his visiting kids on Instagram in June.
‘Dad’s side of the family came out for Father’s Day weekend,’ he wrote. ‘We love this man!’
In November King told news site Extra he was recovering and spending two weeks in a coma after suffering a stroke last March.
‘I had a stroke. Everything got better except [for] my left foot, and I have been rehabbing that every day, and they tell me I’ll be walking by Christmas,’ he said.
‘I’ve been walking with a walker. It’s been a rough year, I don’t remember anything since March.
‘I haven’t driven a car, but I’m back at work and that makes me feel great.’
In the interview Larry reassured fans that his doctors were impressed with his positive attitude: ‘My head doctor said I have an incomparable spirit.’
The Larry King Show star has had a complex and storied love life, with eight marriages to seven women and has fathered five children.
He married Alene Akins twice, adopting her late son Andy during their first marriage and fathering his late daughter Chaia in their second.
After divorcing Alene in 1972, he went on to marry Freda Miller, Annette Kaye, Mickey Sutphin, Sharon Lepore, Julie Alexander and most recently Shawn Southwick in 1997.
Shawn, who mothered Larry’s two youngest sons, Chance, 20, and Cannon, 19, has previously joked she is ‘the only [wife] to have lasted into the two digits’.
The couple filed for divorce in 2010 but later tore up the papers – only to file again for divorce last August after 22 years of marriage.
In 2009 Larry revealed he had another son named after him, who he had not acknowledged for 33 years.
Larry King Jr, born from his brief marriage with Annette Kaye, appeared for the first time in public with his father on Larry King Live 11 years ago.
The TV host said at the time he first met his estranged son, 58, in 1994.
Larry Jr is reportedly married with three children of his own and has worked as the head of King’s heart disease foundation in California.