Talk show host Larry Young has just pushed back death for the third time.
Young, 72, is a former Maryland state legislator and a mainstay of Urban One Radio (WOLB 1010 AM), where for the past 25 years he has hosted “The Larry Young Morning Show”.
Young said in a phone interview on Tuesday that he had not been on the air since April 10, when he was rushed to hospital after suffering from a dangerous foot infection that had was exacerbated by his type 2 diabetes. Young had spent the previous four days attending the National Action Network conference in New York.
“I knew I had a problem,” Young said. “I had no idea it was as bad as it was. When I got to the hospital, the doctors gave me two options: amputation or death. It’s a terrible thing to hear .
Young’s leg was removed below the knee. He was due to undergo final surgery on Tuesday to remove the staples. He will be in a wheelchair for two months, then expects to receive a prosthetic leg.
If all goes well, Young hopes to return to the show in early June and resume most activities by August.
“I won’t be able to run,” he said. “But I should be able to walk and I should be back to normal.”
In Young’s absence, his morning show was hosted by former Baltimore City Police Department spokesperson and former mayoral candidate TJ Smith, and former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh, who recently was released from prison after serving 19 months for conspiracy, perjury and tax evasion.
“Larry is a wonderful person and we all miss him terribly,” said Howard Mazer, the radio station‘s general manager. “I’m sure all of our listeners are eagerly awaiting his return.”
Mazer said Young would often arrive at work at 5:30 a.m., host the morning show, and then stay at his desk late into the night making calls on behalf of his listeners.
“The word ‘no’ is not in Larry’s vocabulary,” Mazer said. “He will do whatever he can to help someone, no matter what. If someone doesn’t have enough money to pay the rent, Larry will find a way to get it. If anyone has trouble getting their Social Security check, Larry will bat for them.
“The radio station is important to Larry. But the ability to do things for the community matters more than anything else.
Young joined WOLB in 1998. He said it was the third time in 25 years that serious health issues forced him to take a long hiatus. In 2004, he was rushed to hospital with a life-threatening heart condition.
“My doctors told me I had a 1% chance of surviving,” Young said.
He returned to the air less than a month later.
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Then, in 2012, he suffered a drug-related brain hemorrhage. Young later told The AFRO newspaper that his doctors had informed him that if he had waited six more hours for treatment, he would have died.
“I was saying to God last night, ‘This is the third time I’ve been near death,’ he said. so grateful.”
Young said he was using his enforced time off to work on a book chronicling his quarter century in radio and before that, his quarter century in the state legislature.
From 1975 until his election to the State Senate in 1988, Young represented Baltimore in the House of Delegates. In 1998, he was expelled from the Senate for alleged ethics violations. An Anne Arundel County jury later acquitted him of criminal bribery and tax evasion charges, but Young decided not to stand again.
“There’s a lot I have to say in my book,” Young said, “unless my lawyers tell me I can’t.”
In the meantime, he looks forward to being honored by Talkers Magazine, which Young says will present him with their lifetime achievement award. And he can’t wait to get back in the air, at least temporarily.
“This is my 25th year in radio,” he said. “I wonder if it’s time to retire. But even if that’s what I decide, I won’t leave before the end of the year.