Conservative radio host Phil Valentine has died of COVID at age 61
A conservative talk radio host from Tennessee who had been a vaccine skeptic until he was hospitalized from COVID-19 has died at the age of 61.
Phil Valentine’s death following a month-long hospitalization was confirmed by Nashville radio station SuperTalk 99.7 WTN in a tweet on Saturday.
Valentine had expressed skepticism of coronavirus vaccines, though his family insist he was not an ‘anti-vaxxer’.
After he tested positive for COVID-19, and prior to his hospitalization, he told his listeners to consider, ‘If I get this COVID thing, do I have a chance of dying from it?’
If so, he advised them to get vaccinated. He said he chose not to get vaccinated because he thought he had a ‘very low risk of dying’.
After Valentine was moved into a critical care unit, Mark Valentine said his brother regretted that ‘he wasn’t a more vocal advocate of the vaccination’.
Valentine had been a skeptic of coronavirus vaccines, questioning their safety and saying he chose not to get vaccinated because he thought he had a ‘very low risk of dying’
Valentine is survived by his wife, Susan. Senator Marsha Blackburn called him ‘a visionary for the conservative movement’
‘I know if he were able to tell you this, he would tell you, “Go get vaccinated. Quit worrying about the politics. Quit worrying about all the conspiracy theories”,’ Mark Valentine told The Tennessean on July 25.
‘He regrets not being more adamant about getting the vaccine. Look at the dadgum data,’ he said.
His family revealed late last month that he was ‘in very serious condition’ and was suffering from ‘covid pneumonia,’ along with other side effects of the virus.
Days later, relatives said Valentine had been placed on a ventilator. It seems likely that he never regained consciousness before his death.
In their initial statement after his hospitalization, his family said: ‘Phil would like for his listeners to know that while he has never been an ‘anti-vaxxer’ he regrets not being more vehemently ‘Pro-Vaccine’ and looks forward to being able to more vigorously advocate that position as soon as he is back on the air, which we all hope will be soon.’
Valentine is seen at a 2009 Tea Party rally. He said he chose not to get vaccinated because he thought he had a ‘very low risk of dying’
Phil Valentine had been a radio personality since he was 20 and became a popular conservative host by railing against a state income tax proposed by Republican then-Governor Don Sundquist, the Tennessean reported.
The program grew into a nationally syndicated show that aired for 12 years on as many as 100 stations, according to the newspaper.
At the end of the run, Valentine signed a three-year deal in 2019 that kept him on 99.7 WTN.
‘Phil Valentine was a visionary for the conservative movement, and he made an enormous impact on the lives of many Tennesseans,’ U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn tweeted.
‘My deepest condolences and prayers are with Phil’s wife, Susan, and his family. May they be comforted and surrounded by love during this difficult time.’
Phil Valentine appeared to be in high spirits July 12 when he told his followers in a Facebook post that he had COVID, saying ‘unfortunately for the haters out there, it looks like I’m going to make it.’
Valentine announced on his Facebook page that he contracted the virus on July 12
Two days later, he went back to hosting his radio show and promoted ‘very effective alternatives to the vaccine’ on Facebook
Valentine at first dismissed the infection, before he took a turn for the worse
Valentine ridiculed the Johnson and Johnson vaccine after the company recalled ‘cancer-causing’ sunscreen. His final Twitter posts on July 16 mocked vaccines and masks
He went back on air two days later according to his Facebook profile, striking a more grateful tone but still promoting ‘alternatives’.
‘Thanks for all the prayers and well-wishes,’ he said. ‘The good news is there are some very effective alternatives to the vaccine.’
He ridiculed the Johnson and Johnson vaccine after they recalled its sunscreen after ‘cancer-causing chemicals’ on July 16.
In the original statement, released by his brother Mark Valentine, implored: ‘PLEASE GO GET VACCINATED!’
His brother, now a champion for COVID-19 vaccines, is encouraging others to go get their vaccine. Mark got his after his brother’s diagnosis with the disease.
He wrote in an August 15 Facebook post: ‘For those of you who haven’t gotten your vaccine, you need to consider this. Our hospitals are being overrun with Covid patients & most are on ‘diversion’ meaning they aren’t accepting transfers, ambulances or new patients period. So if you get it there may very well be nowhere to go. GET THE VACCINE…go to WalMart and do it right now!’
His brother Mark has since received a COVID-19 vaccine and has since been encouraging people to get it too