An outspoken nationally syndicated conservative radio show host who openly expressed skepticism about the coronavirus vaccine has died following a battle with COVID-19. Per WKRN, Phil Valentine's death was announced Saturday afternoon by his station in Tennessee, SuperTalk 99.7 WTN—the same platform the 61-year-old once used to broadcast a parody he'd recorded called Vaxman, which mocked the vaccine. Per WTVF, Valentine first revealed his diagnosis in July when he suggested he'd recover quickly. As time went on, those who knew Valentine began to paint a grimmer picture. After Valentine was hospitalized, his family posted a message for him that expressed regret over not being more "pro-vaccine" in his radio show, where he'd often criticize mask mandates and question vaccine safety to his listeners across Tennessee and nationwide.
The family's statement closed with the plea: "PLEASE GET VACCINATED." Valentine himself came close to telling listeners the same thing after first being diagnosed. Per the AP, prior to being hospitalized, he told listeners to ask themselves, “If I get this COVID thing, do I have a chance of dying from it?” If so, he advised them to get vaccinated--but that he chose not to do so because he believed he was unlikely to die from it. After Valentine was moved into a critical care unit, Mark Valentine said his brother had regrets. “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. (Read more phil valentine stories.)