Members of the nationally-syndicated "Kidd Kraddick in the Morning" radio show remembered the late radio host during an on-air memorial for more than an hour Monday morning.
David "Kidd" Kraddick, the 53-year-old high-octane radio and TV host of the "Kidd Kraddick in the Morning" show, heard on dozens of U.S. radio stations, died at a charity golf event near New Orleans on Saturday, a publicist said.
Kraddick’s co-hosts said his goal was to make listeners laugh. Paying tribute to him Monday, there was laughter at the KISS-FM studios inside from colleagues and outside from fans, though there were also a lot of tears.
“I don’t usually take the death of someone I don’t know so hard, but it was definitely something I wanted to come out and support all the other crew members,” said Amber Hagan, a listener from Fort Worth.
Fans did support the team of “’Kidd Kraddick in the Morning,” not only with hugs and condolences. but with cards and flowers left in the walkway outside of the show's studio.
Co-host "Big Al" Mack said they’re trying to carry on after the sudden death of their friend and leader.
“Doing the best we can do. Doing the best we can,” said Mack. “Trying to make him proud. Kidd is going to be missed by a lot of people, and he was a very special man. He changed my life. I’ll always be grateful to him for that.”
The co-hosts also tried to comfort grieving listeners who have come to know Kidd Kraddick like family.
“Thank you. Thank you and sorry for your loss as well,” said co-host Kellie Rasberry to a fan. “We’re not going to be mourning his death this morning, we’re going to be celebrating his life."
Rasberry said the team originally wasn’t going to step up to the microphone Monday morning, but decided Kidd Kraddick would want the show to go on.
"We lived our lives on the air so much, that we have to share death as much as we have to share life,” said Rasberry, who spent 19 years on the air with Kraddick.
Rasberry and the rest of the crew had been with Kraddick in his final days in New Orleans at Kidd’s Kids Golf Tournament, a fundraiser for his charity that sends terminally ill children and their families to Walt Disney World in Florida.
“The last thing he said to me was, 'Great shot,' and gave me a thumbs up,” said co-host Jenna Owens.
Kraddick’s friends said they thought he looked sweaty on Saturday morning and that they thought he may be dehydrated, but that they never expected his death.
“I asked the doctor, 'Did he suffer?' and 'Was he in pain?' and he said, ‘No,” Rasberry told listeners.
One of Kidd’s Kids, Marcos Saldama, struggled with cystic fibrosis. He had to have a double lung transplant, which Kraddick supported him through. Saldama believes now Kraddick is with the children supported by his charity that didn’t survive.
“It’s really good to hear, because I know what it’s like to suffer. He was one of my best friends,” said Saldama.
The co-hosts said this is the last show they’ll do this week. They’ll be taking some time off to mourn. “The Best of Kidd Kraddick” will air this week. They don’t know what will happen to the Kidd Kraddick show, but said he will always live on in their hearts.
Rasberry added that the Kidd's Kids foundation would continue and that this year's trip would happen in Kraddick's honor.
NBC 5's Kendra Lyn and Greg Janda, as well as writers from the Associated Press, contributed to this report.