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David "Kidd" Kraddick, the high-octane radio and TV host of the "Kidd Kraddick in the Morning" show heard on dozens of U.S. radio stations, has died at a charity golf event near New Orleans, a publicist said. Kraddick was 53.
The Texas-based radio and television personality, whose program is syndicated by YEA Networks, died at his Kidd's Kids charity function in the New Orleans suburb of Gretna on Saturday, said publicist Ladd Biro in releasing a network statement.
"He died doing what he loved," said Biro, of the public relations firm Champion Management, speaking with AP by phone early Sunday. He said he had no further details on the death.
Fans left flowers and condolences written on signs left outside his Dallas-area studio.
The website of Kraddick's flagship station KHKS, known as KISS-FM, featured his photo Sunday and remembrances of his career. Fans left online comments such as "morning drive to work in the Dallas traffic will not be the same with out your voice."
"I don't know why his death is affecting me like this. I never met Kidd in person, but I have 'known' him for 15 years or more. He has brought a smile to my face every morning," Tasha Gillespie Sigler wrote Sunday on the Kidd's Kids Facebook page.
"It amazes me how someone you don't even know can become a part of your family," Holly J Smith wrote. She also wrote that "prayers abound for his family, his work family, and for my fellow Kidd Kraddick listening family."
The "Kidd Kraddick in the Morning" show is heard on more than 75 Top 40 and Hot AC radio stations and is a leader among most-listened-to contemporary morning programs, Biro said. The radio program also is transmitted globally on American Forces Radio Network while the show's cast is also seen weeknights on the nationally syndicated TV show "Dish Nation," he added.
"All of us with YEA Networks and the "Kidd Kraddick in the Morning" crew are heartbroken over the loss of our dear friend and leader," the network statement said. "Kidd devoted his life to making people smile every morning, and for 21 years his foundation has been dedicated to bringing joy to thousands of chronically and terminally ill children."
"He died doing what he loved, and his final day was spent selflessly focused on those special children that meant the world to him," it added.
The Dallas Morning News reported Kraddick had been a staple in the Dallas market since 1984, starting in a late-night debut. The newspaper said he moved into morning show work by the early 1990s in that market and his show began to gain wider acclaim and entered into syndication by 2001 as he gained a following in cities nationwide.
Kraddick would have turned 54 on Aug. 22, according to Biro.
The network statement said the cause of death would be released "at the appropriate time."
Many fans, celebrities included, tweeted condolences and talked about the death on social media sites. One Texas radio station where he was a mainstay ran photographs on its website of Kraddick at the microphone.
Word of Kraddick's passing spread quickly via social media.
"RIP Kidd Kraddick. You were an amazing man and a friend. You are already missed," Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban tweeted.
"Oh Man, I just heard Kidd Kraddick died! He's my childhood dj. What a sad day. His poor family. He was always nice 2 me from the beginning," singer Kelly Clarkson tweeted.
Joe Jonas of the Jonas Brothers, only recently announced as the headline act of a planned first-ever Kidd's Kids charity concert in Dallas next month, wrote: "The sad sad news about Kidd Kraddick is shocking. He will be missed greatly."
Richie Tomblin, described as the head golf professional at the Timberlane Country Club in Gretna on its website, told AP that Kraddick wasn't looking well when he saw him getting ready for Saturday's charity event.
"He came out and he borrowed my golf clubs and went out to the driving range," Tomblin told AP when contacted by phone. "It's kind of a freaky situation. He came out. He practiced a little bit. He hit the ball at the first tee and wasn't feeling good and after that I didn't see him."
Tomblin said the hundreds of amateur golfers taking part went ahead with the event Saturday. He added he only found out afterward that Kraddick had died and he was still shaken about it.
"I'm still trying to figure it out. I really don't know what happened. Everyone keeps texting me asking, 'What's going on?' I really don't know," said Tomblin.
He added he was reluctant to even touch the set of clubs Kraddick had borrowed Saturday for his practice swings.