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David "Kidd" Kraddick, Texas-based radio and TV personality, dies at 53

NEW ORLEANSLocal radio show host Kidd Kraddick of the popular radio show "Kidd Kraddick in the Morning," has died. Kraddick, whose real name is David Peter Cradick, 53, passed away Saturday in New Orleans at a golf tournament. The event was organized to raise money for his beloved Kidd's Kids charity.

The "Kidd Kraddick in the Morning" show is heard on more than 75 Top 40 and Hot AC radio stations and is a leader among most-listened-to contemporary morning programs, publicist Ladd Biro said. The radio program also is transmitted globally on American Forces Radio Network while the show's cast is also seen weeknights on the nationally syndicated TV show "Dish Nation."

The Dallas Morning News reported Kraddick had been a staple in the Dallas market since 1984, starting in a late-night debut. The newspaper said he moved into morning show work by the early 1990s in that market and his show began to gain wider acclaim and entered into syndication by 2001 as he gained a following in cities nationwide.

More than a radio icon to many, Kraddick had a reputation for helping children selflessly through his non-profit work, reports CBS affiliate KTVT in Dallas.

"When Kidd came to town Ronald Reagan was just being sworn into his second term, Danny White quarterbacked the Cowboys, and Doug Rader managed the Rangers. Nobody compared to Kidd Kraddick. Nobody," according to KLUV/98.7 FM morning host Jody Dean.

Kraddick founded his charity The Kraddick Foundation, in '91. It's dedicated to helping impact the lives of children who have terminal or chronic illnesses or are accident victims. It consists of "Kidd's Kids," which takes a planeload of children (age 5-11) and their families to Walt Disney World for 5 days every November, according to the non-profit's website.

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban set off a social media frenzy when he tweeted "RIP Kidd Kraddick. You were an amazing man and a friend. You are already missed."

There was an immediate outpouring of grief for the KISS-FM, ClearChannel Dallas, YEA Networks mainstay after Cuban's tweet.

The parent company of the "Kidd Kraddick in the Morning" show released the following statement: "All of us with YEA Networks and the Kidd Kraddick in the Morning crew are heartbroken over the loss of our dear friend and leader. Kidd devoted his life to making people smile every morning, and for 21 years his foundation has been dedicated to bringing joy to thousands of chronically and terminally ill children.

"Kidd passed away today in New Orleans at a golf tournament organized to raise money for his beloved Kidd's Kids charity. He died doing what he loved, and his final day was spent selflessly focused on those special children that meant the world to him.

"We ask that you respect the privacy of his family and his colleagues. At the appropriate time, we will release more information about the cause of death."

Other broadcast professionals quickly expressed their grief about Kraddick's sudden and unexpected death.

"I am deeply shocked and tremendously saddened by the news of Kidd's passing," said Mark "Hawkeye" Louis of KSCS FM. "He took the occupation of disc jockey to a level which we never imagined," he continued. "He was a true humanitarian. And to his nationwide following, he was family... and tonight they are mourning him as they would a brother."

Kraddick's show aired throughout the U.S. and was seen on the Dish Nation TV show.