Iconic TV host Bob Barker died last month after a lengthy battle with Alzheimer’s, according to TMZ.
The 99-year-old Price Is Right host never publicly addressed the disease, but the doctors said his death on Aug. 26 came “years” after his illness began.
The outlet reported that Barker had suffered several falls over the years.
A longtime vegetarian and animal rights activist, Barker, who became a household name over 50 years of hosting Truth or Consequences and The Price Is Right, teamed up with PETA in 2013 for a campaign which highlighted how a meat-free diet could help prevent the brain disorder.
Following the news of death last week at the age of 99, CBS said in a statement that daytime television has lost one of its “most iconic stars.”
“We lost a beloved member of the CBS family today with the passing of Bob Barker,” the network said, noting that he had “made countless people’s dreams come true and everyone feel like a winner when they were called to ‘come on down.’”
Barker retired from The Price Is Right 16 years ago, after a 35-year run fronting the beloved game show.
He said the time was right to step away because the rigors of the show was “a lot” to handle.
“I’m just reaching the age where the constant effort to be there and do the show physically is a lot for me,” he said.
But Barker understood the enduring appeal of The Price is Right, in which audience members compete for prizes by trying to guess their retail value.
“Everyone can identify with prices, even the president of the United States. Viewers at home become involved because they all have an opinion on the bids,” Barker once said.
His continued appeal happened, he said, because he was able to make contestants feel like “guests in my home.”
“Perhaps my feeling of respect for them comes across to viewers, and that may be one of the reasons why I’ve lasted,” he said in 1996.
His career longevity, he once told the Associated Press, was the result of being happy with where he had ended up. “I had the opportunity to do this type of show and I discovered I enjoyed it … People who do something that they thoroughly enjoy and they started doing it when they’re very young, I don’t think they want to stop.”
After stepping away in 2007, Barker handed the baton to comedian Drew Carey.
“I want to retire while I’m still young,” he told USA Today in 2006 at the age of 82. “I could do the show another year, but I’d rather quit a year too soon than a year too late.
Roger Neal, Barker’s longtime representative, told TMZ that the bulk of his estate will be donated to more than 40 animal rights organizations and military nonprofits.
Neal also gave TMZ insight into Barker’s final days, saying the TV host watched Two and a Half Men reruns.
Following his death, Barker’s girlfriend of 40 years praised his work on behalf of animal rights.
“I am so proud of the trailblazing work Barker and I did together to expose the cruelty to animals in the entertainment industry and including working to improve the plight of abused and exploited animals in the United States and internationally,” Nancy Burnet, 97, told Page Six in a statement.
“We were great friends over these 40 years. He will be missed.”
In a phone interview with TODAY, Burnet spoke about their decision to never marry following the death of Barker’s first wife, Dorothy Jo Gideon, in 1981.
“When we started seeing each other, that was one of the things we talked about at the beginning, about ever remarrying or anything,” Burnet said. “And he said ‘No, no, he would never remarry.’ And I said, ‘Perfect because I have no intention ever remarrying.’ And then some years passed, and he proposed many times.”
But even though he asked, she never changed her mind.
“I think it was in 2011, maybe, he had his attorney draw up a prenup and sent that to me,” she said. “I just didn’t accept that. I didn’t want to. I just never wanted to remarry, to anyone. And so we just continued on as we were.”
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