Longtime North Texas radio host Kidd Kraddick died Saturday afternoon in New Orleans at the age of 53.
Kraddick died while in New Orleans for a golf tournament to benefit his charity "Kidd's Kids."
A preliminary autopsy from the Jefferson Parish coroner's office shows Kraddick died from heart disease, but a cause of death is still pending, according to NOLA.com.
The coroner found Kraddick had an enlarged heart and blocked arteries, which could have led to an irregular heartbeat. The coroner said three coronary arteries had blockage ranging from 40 to 80 percent.
The impact of Kraddick's death was instant, and surreal for thousands of his fans.
"He made the whole world laugh and he made the world feel love and he will be sorely missed," said Lindsay Biehl.
Flowers, candles and messages of love filled a memorial outside the Las Colinas studio where Kraddick did his show.
"It made my morning pretty much bright," sighed Joe Tadesse, a fan. "I feel like I lost one of my family members, man."
The memorial continues to grow, as fans stop by to share how Kraddick was a part of their lives.
"I grew up listening to Kidd Kraddick and his morning show," Mario Guerra said, "and for Dallas and the nation to be without him, it's going to be a totally different morning"
KISS-FM D-J Billy the Kidd told listeners he could barely believe the statement he had to read. Soon after, Kraddick's daughter posted this tweet:
"I WILL NEVER WRAP MY BRAIN AROUND MY FATHERS PASSING. PLEASE KEEP ME AND MY FAMILY IN YOUR PRAYERS AND ASK THE LORD TO WATCH OVER MY DADDY."
Kraddick had been on the air in Dallas/Fort Worth since 1984, joining KISS FM in 1992. His morning show ruled morning drive and in 2001 was syndicated around the country.
KLUV morning radio host Jody Dean talked about going head to head with Kidd in the ratings.
"You walk in the door and you go, 'I'm facing the Yankees, I'm playing the Packers.' That's Kidd Kraddick over there," he said.
Dean said Kraddick related to his listeners and established a whole new genre.
"Before Kidd, radio was a matter of routine. We're gonna do a routine or a bit. And after Kidd it was a matter of relationship. So he didn't just come in and do it well, he changed it," Dean said.
Kraddick's co-host, Kellie Rasberry, emerged from the Las Colinas studio briefly on Sunday, giving hugs to fans of the show and offering words of comfort.
"Just so y'all know," Rasberry assured them. "He didn't suffer a minute. He didn't suffer a minute, so y'all know that."
Rasberry said she hopes listeners will remember her colleague for more than just his work on the radio.
"I just want his legacy to continue. He would want, I think that's what he would want the most, is for everybody to let the Kidd's Kids charity continue, that's what meant the most to him."
"He was bigger than I think he even realized. He touched a lot of lives. I think he knew he did but I don't think he knew to the extent," she said.
The head golf professional at the Timberlane Country Club, where Kraddick's golf tournament was held, told the Associated Press that Kraddick looked ill when he arrived for the event.
"He came out and he borrowed my golf clubs and went out to the driving range," Richie Tomblin told AP when contacted by phone. "It's kind of a freaky situation. He came out. He practiced a little bit. He hit the ball at the first tee and wasn't feeling good and after that I didn't see him."
Todd Graves, the CEO of Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers, says Kraddick will be missed.
"Over the past year, I have had the distinct pleasure of getting to know Kidd through our company's support of his extraordinary charity, Kidd's Kids. Before that, I was a fan just like millions of others," Graves said.
Despite the passing of Kidd, Graves said his company's support of Kidd's Kids will not end.
"On behalf of my entire crew at Raising Cane's, we extend our deepest sympathies to his family, his associates and to the thousands of families whose lives he touched in the most meaningful way. We will do our part to fulfill his vision for Kidd's Kids. God rest his soul," he said.
According to the show's web site, Kraddick's nationally syndicated radio show "Kidd Kraddick In The Morning" is heard in nearly 100 cities across the country and worldwide on American Forces Radio.
Kraddick also recently signed on to the syndicated television show "Dish Nation," which airs daily on FOX4.
Kraddick's numerous awards include the WB Radio Music Award for America's Best Radio Personality, named to the Ten Outstanding Young Americans by the American Junior Chamber, Major Market Personality Of The Year by Radio and Records, and the distinguished Marconi Award for radio personality of the year.
Kraddick's first job in Dallas was in 1984 on KEGL-FM (97.1). In 1992, he moved to Kiss FM (KHKS 106.1) and gained fame with his morning drive radio show.
Kraddick divorced in 2007. He is survived by a daughter.
WTTG FOX 5 & myfoxdc
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