Larry King's estranged wife has claimed he died of sepsis.
The legendary TV host passed away at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles on Sunday NZST at 87, after contracting coronavirus but wife Shawn King has insisted he had "beat" the virus but couldn't overcome an infection.
She said: "It was an infection, it was sepsis. Well, he was finally ready to go, I will tell you that.
"You know, he never wanted to go but his sweet little body was just, it had just been hit so many times with so many things and once we heard the word Covid, all of our hearts just sunk.
"But he beat it, you know, he beat it, but it did take its toll and then the unrelated infection finally is what took him, but boy, he was not gonna go down easily."
Shawn was thankful that she was able to speak with Larry - the father of her sons Chance, 21, and Cannon, 20 - via videocall before he died and explained how the presenter was keen to tell his family, which also included his eldest child Larry Jr. from a previous marriage, that he loved them.
She told Entertainment Tonight: "We were able to do FaceTime in the hospital and it was hard for him to talk, but the one message that he wanted to make sure I heard was, 'I love you, take care of the boys.' "
While Larry had filed for divorce from Shawn in August 2019 - nine years after they originally split before reconciling - she insisted they were still "partners" to the end.
She said: "Larry and I, you know, we never finalised our divorce.
"In my heart, I didn't think it was really going to happen and it never did. We were partners in every sense of the way, in business, and in, well, first in our family and then in business. But we're a close family. You know, family is the most important thing, and God."
Shawn can still feel Larry's presence around her and thinks he'd have been delighted with the "beautiful tributes" people have offered.
She said: "I believe he's still around us and I can feel him.
"I can very, very distinctly feel him around me and around us. I'm sure he is so happy at the coverage that his passing has gotten. ... Larry was a little boy in so many ways. And he used to always, you probably have 30 different soundbites of him saying, 'I pinch myself every day. I can't believe this is my life.' And he really, really did.
"So all of these beautiful tributes, you know, I'm sure he's thrilled, and the family, we're all just so happy and so proud of him for all the wonderful things that he did. He did a lot."
Larry had two other children, Andy and Chaia, but they tragically passed away weeks apart last summer aged 65 and 51 respectively.