Phil Valentine, a prominent conservative radio host in Tennessee who refused to be vaccinated and then urged his followers to get a shot after being hospitalized with Covid-19, has died, his station said Saturday.
Mr Valentine scoffed at the need for vaccines, writing on his blog that his chances of dying from the virus if he got infected were “far less than one percent”.
He announced his Covid-19 diagnosis on July 11 and promised to return to his show in a day or two.
“Unfortunately for the haters out there, looks like I’m going to make it,” he wrote. “Interesting experience. I’ll have to inform you when I’m back in the air. I hope it’s tomorrow, but maybe I’ll take a day off as a precaution.”
Less than two weeks later, his radio station, 99.7 WTN, announced that the Nashville host was hospitalized “in very serious condition, suffering from Covid pneumonia”. The statement said Mr Valentine had changed his mind and urged others to get a vaccine.
“Phil would like his listeners to know that while he has never been an ‘anti-vaxer’, he regrets not being more vehemently ‘pro-vaccine’ and looks forward to defending that position more vigorously as soon as possible. he’s back on air, which we all hope will be soon,” the station said.
Some people responded to the announcement with words of support for Mr. Valentine, while others said he deserved to get sick.
On Saturday, the station announced on Twitter that Mr. Valentine had passed away and urged followers to “keep the Valentine family in your thoughts and prayers.”