Jerry Springer kept one huge secret right until the end, says close friend

Jerry Springer never told his closest friends that he was sick with pancreatic cancer, but made an effort to say his goodbyes, according to reports.

The longtime host of one of TV’s most wild and controversial daytime talk shows died aged 79 yesterday,

April 27. A family spokesperson said Springer died peacefully at home after a “brief illness,” while TMZ reported that it was pancreatic cancer.

“Jerry’s ability to connect with people was at the heart of his success in everything he tried whether that was politics, broadcasting or just joking with people on the street who wanted a photo or a word,” Jene Galvin, a family spokesperson and friend of Springer’s, said in a statement, per AP.

“He’s irreplaceable and his loss hurts immensely, but memories of his intellect, heart and humor will live on.”

It should go without saying that thousands have paid tribute to Springer on social media. After all, the long-time TV host was a firm fan favorite over multiple decades.

One who might be feeling the heartbreak more than most is Steve Wilkos, a retired cope who was hired as a security guard for the “Springer Show” in 1994. His popularity there led to him launching his own show, “The Steve Wilkos Show” in 2007. That show’s now in its 16th season.

Wilkos told how he and the late Jerry had remained close over the years, and believes that his long-time friend was trying to say goodbye to him when they met a month ago.

Wilkos revealed that Springer had not told people he was sick with cancer – his death yesterday came as a shock to the former security guard.

JB Lacroix / Contributor
The ex-Chicago cop had just got done taping The Steve Wilkos Show last month when he says Springer called him about a get together for cigars.

As per Entertainment Tonight, Wilkos recalled: “I really didn’t want to go, but it’s Jerry and I’m like, ‘I want to see the guy and I love him. He never told me he was ill. And now, I think that night I saw him was his way of saying goodbye to me without saying goodbye. I wish I would have known. I think in his way he was telling me goodbye.”

He added: “He embraced me. He hugged me like he had never done before and he was telling me he loves me. We sat down, and I think back now, we were reflecting a lot on the good times that we had, which we normally didn’t do a lot, but this time it was a lot of reflection on the good times that we had together.

“And I was telling my wife, for me, it makes a lot of sense today. I’m hearing that he had pancreatic cancer, but he did not say anything to me. So, I’m really not sure. But if it’s true, then he definitely said goodbye to me in a way that he was letting me know that that was the end.”

As for Springer’s influence on his own life, Wilkos acknowledges that the TV host played a huge role. Prior to being hired to work security for Springer’s show, Wilkos thought he would spend the rest of his days as a police officer before retiring and collecting his pension.

“Next year would have been 30 years of knowing Jerry,” Wilkos said. “I’m still in shock that I’m never gonna talk to him again. He was 79 years old, but I really thought he’d live to 100.”

He concluded: “I’m not exaggerating when I say [he was] the nicest man in the world. He was a fantastic man, husband, father, friend. It saddens me. Maybe I’m too distraught right now, but I don’t think we’re gonna have a lot of men coming down the pipe like Jerry was — open-minded, caring, respectful, listening to other people’s opinions.”

Rest in peace, Jerry Springer, and thanks for all the memories!

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