TV legend Sally Jessy Raphael’s husband of 57 years Karl Soderlund has passed away at the age of 90, DailyMail.com has learned.
A close family friend confirmed the death to DailyMail.com, saying: ‘Sally’s beloved husband Karl passed away from complications due to Alzheimer’s disease in the early hours of Thursday morning at their farm in Dutchess County, New York.
‘He put up a courageous fight against Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s for the past five years and he never lost his brilliant sense of humor.
‘They had a wonderful 57 years together and literally never spent a day apart.
‘Karl was known for his warmth and kindness, as well as his wicked sense of humor. He was loved by all.
‘Sally is asking for privacy during this difficult time as she mourns her beloved husband.’
Raphael, 85, had been Soderlund’s caretaker for the past few years, spending most of their time at their farm in upstate New York.
The two met in Puerto Rico and married in 1962 and in June they celebrated Soderlund’s 90th birthday, with Raphael writing on Twitter: ‘When I married Karl, he was 5 years my senior.
‘Somehow, over 60 years, my Peter Pan husband has remained forever young and handsome!
‘Happy 90th birthday to the love of my life – so glad we can finally be together with loved ones to celebrate your amazing life!’
Raphael became a household name with her hit show Sally, which remained on air for nearly 20 years until 2002.
Last year, she opened up the doors to her Manhattan home to DailyMailTV to reflect on her career, with her beloved husband always nearby and smiling as he watched on.
The smitten couple posed for pictures, as Soderlund lovingly referred to Raphael as ‘red’ – in reference to her hair color, as well as a nod to her iconic red glasses.
Soderlund was born in Duluth, Minnesota, and was of Norwegian descent, which he was very proud of.
He leaves behind Raphael, their adopted son Jessy Soderlund, who they fondly call JJ, as well as Raphael’s daughter from her previous marriage Andrea and two grandchildren Max and Kyle.
Soderlund also helped raise Raphael’s other daughter Allison, who passed away in 1992.
Raphael is known as the first woman to host a syndicated talk show on TV, paving the way for Oprah and all the other women who came after, but she credits her husband as being ‘the architect of the career which made her a global household name.’
The close family friend added: ‘Karl produced all 30 years of Sally’s radio show and all of the TV shows she fronted in Puerto Rico and Miami.’
‘He was a kind man who was an avid cyclist, sailor and fly fisherman.
‘In fact, Sally introduced him to fly fishing and they enjoyed doing it together in Lyme, Connecticut.’
In lieu of flowers the family is requesting donations to the Alzheimer’s Association.