LAS COLINAS (CBSDFW.COM) - This week will definitely be tough for the co-hosts of the "Kidd Kraddick in the Morning" radio show. They all went back on the air Monday morning to talk about the loss of their friend and leader. A crowd of about 60 people congregated outside of the 106.1 KISS FM studio in Las Colinas and a memorial of flowers and signs was set up by fans.
"For the first time ever, we are 'Kidd Kraddick in the Morning' without Kidd Kraddick," said co-host Kellie Rasberry, fighting back tears. All of the on-air personalities were naturally broken up and shaken by the radio legend's death. "Every good thing I have in my life, in my career, is because of him," Rasberry continued. "We're beyond devastasted."
For so many listeners across North Texas and in other cities, the morning hours with Kidd Kraddick were a daily dose of humor and fun. But the nationally syndicated radio show host died suddenly on Saturday at a golf tournament in New Orleans -- a fundraiser for his Kidd's Kids charity. He was 53 years old.
The Jefferson Parish Coroner's Office in Louisiana confirmed on Monday that Kraddick died from "cardiac disease," saying that three of the four main coronaries had a 40 to 80 percent blockage. Some heart disease can be hereditary. Other factors can include poor diet, smoking, alcohol, hypertension and high levels of stress.
Some of the Kidd's Kids children remembered Kraddick for his kindness and his ability to make others laugh. "He really was one of my best friends," said Marcos Saldana, who has cystic fibrosis and was helped out by the Kidd's Kids charity. "He was the kind of person who always surprised me. If he didn't have time to see you, he'd make time to see you."
Saldana's mother added, "Morning shows will not be the same without him."
The news of Kraddick's passing came as a shock to his fans, and many undoubtedly listened as Rasberry, Big Al, Jenna, J-Si and Shanon took the microphone again on Monday morning to talk about their feelings and memories. They also opened the phone lines for Kraddick's fans to share their thoughts and remember the man who helped so many wake up with a smile.
Rasberry and the rest of the radio team were in New Orleans with Kraddick when he died. In an emotional Facebook posting on Sunday, the longtime co-host said, "I am so grateful for my faith and the knowledge that I will fuss at that man in Heaven again some day. Kidd Kraddick will always be the love of my life."
Morning show host Jody Dean with CBS Radio station 98.7 KLUV FM competed with Kraddick on the air, and said that his appeal knew no bounds. "Radio has always been there, and Kidd's voice was in people's ears and close, and it's that closeness that makes this so emotional for so many people."
"It's just heartbreaking," said DFW radio personality Tony Zazza. "I knew Kidd before I knew radio. He is what made so many of us want to do radio and be the best we could be. Lost of love goes out to his family, crew (radio family), friends. He touched so many lives. We lost a legend. The on-air light won't shine as bright without him."
Reaction to the loss swept across social media over the weekend.
Mark Cuban set off the online frenzy Saturday night by saying, "RIP Kidd Kraddick. You were an amazing man and a friend. You are already missed."
Sen. Wendy Davis tweeted, "My family and I are truly heartbroken over the unexpected loss of legendary radio host Kidd Kraddick."
One Direction member Harry Styles said, "Absolutely devastated to hear about the sad passing of Kidd Kraddick. He was always so nice and will be incredibly missed. Lovely man. Rest in peace."
"The sad news about Kidd Kraddick is shocking," said Joe Jonas of the Jonas Brothers. "He will be missed greatly."
"So sad hearing about my radio brother Kidd Kraddick. One of a kind and one of the best at what he did every morning," said Ryan Seacrest on Twitter. "U will be missed, Kidd."
DFW's own Demi Lovato tweeted, "You believed in my talent. Dallas, Texas lost a hero tonight and my heart is broken for the KISS FM family. You're already missed, Kidd."
And fellow North Texas native Kelly Clarkson said, "Oh man, I just heard Kidd Kraddick died! He's my childhood DJ. What a sad day. His poor family. He was always nice 2 me from the beginning."
But the most heartbreaking of all was a Twitter message from Kraddick's daughter, Caroline. "I will never wrap my brain around my father's passing," she said. "Please keep me and my family in your prayers and ask the Lord to watch over my daddy."
Kraddick started in the Dallas area in 1984, and moved to morning radio in the early 1990s. He entered into syndication by 2001 and gained a following in nearly 100 cities. Kraddick and his team can also be seen on the syndicated Dish Nation television show.
Kraddick's passion for helping children will carry on next month. The first-ever benefit concert for Kidd's Kids was scheduled for August 15, and the show is still set to go on at the House of Blues in Dallas. Performers will include former "American Idol" performer Tim Halperin, the Jonas Brothers and Jason Derulo. Halperin expects the concert to be filled with moments of tribute to Kraddick's life of hard work.
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