According to accounts, Jerry Springer never notified his closest friends that he had pancreatic cancer, but he made an attempt to say his farewell.
The longtime host of one of TV’s most raucous and contentious daytime talk shows died Friday, April 27, at the age of 79. Springer died quietly at home following a “brief illness,” according to a family spokesperson, although TMZ reported that it was pancreatic cancer.
“Jerry’s ability to connect with people was at the heart of his success in everything he tried, whether that was politics, broadcasting, or just joking with people on the street who wanted a photo or a word,” Jene Galvin, a family spokesperson and friend of Springer, said in a statement, according to the Associated Press.
It goes without saying that thousands of people have paid their respects to Springer on social media. After all, the long-time TV personality has been a fan favourite for decades.
Steve Wilkos, a retired cop who was employed as a security guard for the “Springer Show” in 1994, may be experiencing the pain more than most. His success there led to the creation of his own show, “The Steve Wilkos Show,” in 2007. That show is currently in its 16th season.
Wilkos described how he and the late Jerry remained close over the years and feels that when they met a month ago, his long-time friend was trying to say farewell to him.
Wilkos claimed that Springer had not told anybody about his cancer diagnosis, therefore his death yesterday came as a surprise to the former security guard.
The ex-Chicago cop claims Springer called him about a cigar get-together after he had just finished taping The Steve Wilkos Show last month.
Wilkos told Entertainment Tonight, “I really didn’t want to go, but it’s Jerry, and I’m like, ‘I want to see the guy, and I love him.'” He never informed me that he was sick. And now I believe that seeing him that night was his way of saying farewell to me without saying goodbye. I regret not knowing. “I believe he was saying goodbye to me in his own way.”
“He embraced me,” he added. He hugged me as he’d never hugged me before and told me he loved me. We sat down, and now that I think about it, we were reflecting a lot on the good times we had, which we didn’t do very often, but this time it was a lot of reflection on the nice times we had together.
“And I was telling my wife that it makes a lot of sense to me today.” I’ve heard he had pancreatic cancer, but he never told me anything. So I’m extremely unsure. But if it’s true, he clearly said farewell to me in a way that let me know that was the case.
In terms of Springer’s influence on his own life, Wilkos admits that the TV show had a significant impact. Wilkos expected to spend the rest of his days as a police officer before retiring and collecting his pension before getting hired to perform security for Springer’s show.
“Next year would have been 30 years of knowing Jerry,” Wilkos remarked. “I’m still stunned that I’ll never speak to him again.” He was 79 years old, but I truly believed he would live to be 100.”
“I’m not exaggerating when I say [he was] the nicest man in the world,” he added. He was a wonderful husband, father, and friend.