Political talk show pioneer John McLaughlin died Tuesday morning at his home in Virginia at the age of 89, the New York Daily News reports. According to the Washington Post, he had been fighting prostate cancer. After stints as a Catholic priest and speechwriter for President Nixon, McLaughlin started The McLaughlin Group in 1982, NBC News reports. With the PBS political panel show, McLaughlin "helped usher in the era of impolite punditry," according to the Post. “The kind of thing McLaughlin was doing is [now] being done in so many places,” television historian Robert Thompson says.
McLaughlin missed the most recent taping of The McLaughlin Group, the Hill reports. It was the first time he'd missed a show in 34 years, seven months, and one week. A note to viewers before the show stated he was "under the weather." "My spirit is strong and my dedication to this show remains absolute," the note read. His death was announced on The McLaughlin Group's Facebook page: "He has said bye bye for the last time, to rejoin his beloved dog, Oliver, in heaven. He will always be remembered." (Read more John McLaughlin stories.)