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Larry King's estranged wife: Talk-show host did not die of COVID-19

Talk legend Larry King died Saturday at age

Talk legend Larry King died Saturday at age 87. Credit: Getty Images / Alberto E. Rodriguez

Shawn King, the estranged wife of the late broadcasting legend Larry King, says his death Saturday at age 87 came not from the COVID-19 disease with which he had been diagnosed but instead from an infection.

"In the end it wasn't COVID," Shawn King, 61, said on "Entertainment Tonight" Wednesday. "No. His sweet little body had just been hit so many times with so many things. Once we heard the word 'COVID,' all of our hearts just sunk. But he beat it. But it did take its toll and then the infection, unrelated infection, finally is what took him."

In an accompanying article at the "ET" website quoting from untelevised portions of the interview, King explained, "It was sepsis," adding, "Well, he was finally ready to go, I will tell you that."

His last words to her, she said in the televised interview, were " 'I love you.' We were able to do FaceTime in the hospital. It was hard for him to talk, but the one message that he wanted to make sure I heard: 'I love you, take care of the boys,’ " their children Chance, 21, and Cannon, 20.

Larry King and the former Shawn Ora Engemann Southwick married in 1997. She was his seventh wife in eight marriages (two to the same woman). Though he filed for divorce in August 2019, she said on air, "We never finalized our divorce. I, in my heart, didn't think it was really going to happen and it just, it never did."

She said of their children, "He was there for their births, he cut the cord for both of them. So, he got to go through all those stages with Chance and Cannon, and I'm sure he missed being able to be with the older kids" — Larry King had six, two of whom died last year — "but I think we took pride in, you know, kind of getting the kid thing right."

Larry King was laid to rest in Los Angeles on Tuesday. Shawn King said that Larry would have loved "all of these beautiful tributes, you know, I'm sure he's thrilled, and the family, we're all just so happy and so proud of him for all the wonderful things that he did. He did a lot."

In honor of King's iconic on-air look, she said everyone at the funeral wore the talk-show host's signature suspenders.

"I'm still processing, as are the boys. The whole family is," she said of his passing. "We wore Larry's suspenders, every one of us. It was beautiful."

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