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Former NYC Radio Host Dave Herman Dies In Custody, Awaiting Trial On Sex Charge

NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- Former New York City radio personality Dave Herman died Thursday while in custody in New Jersey, where he was awaiting trial on charges in a child sex sting.

Herman was 78 when he died at University Hospital in Newark, attorney Marc Agnifilo said. Herman had been rushed to the hospital late Wednesday from the county jail after complaining of chest pains, Agnifilo said. No official cause of death was announced.

The Airmont, N.Y. native, who was once the host of the "Dave Herman Rock and Roll Show" on the old WNEW, had been living in St. Croix.

He was arrested at the airport there in October on a charge he tried to transport a 7-year-old girl to the U.S. Virgin Islands for sex. Herman had allegedly been awaiting the arrival a 36-year-old single mother with a young daughter that he thought he had been communicating with in multiple telephone and online conversations about arranging an illegal sexual encounter with the child.

According to documents, in November of 2012, Herman began a series of chats on a website with an undercover officer from the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office.

Herman believed that he was communicating with a 36-year-old single mother with a then 6-year-old daughter.

Over the course of the following months, Herman had multiple telephone and online communications with the officer during which he allegedly indicated his desire to engage in sexual activity with the officer's fictitious daughter, authorities said.

In early 2013, Herman told the undercover officer that he would like to fly the pair down to spend a few days with him in St. Croix so that he could engage in sexual activity with the daughter, authorities said.

On Sept. 30, Herman purchased airline tickets for them to fly from LaGuardia Airport to St. Croix, prosecutors said. He was arrested at the airport when he went to pick them up.

Herman's lawyer has said his client only engaged in banter about the child because he was interested in the 36-year-old.

Herman had pleaded not guilty to the federal charge, but was denied bail. Agnifilo had suggested that Herman was duped by an undercover police officer.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey said they were moving to dismiss the charges, as is standard practice upon the death of a defendant.

Agnifilo said he hoped the case wouldn't overshadow Herman's legacy.

``Some would say he lived his last months under a legal cloud and that's true, but we should remember him for the decades he gave the gift of music to people,'' Agnifilo said.

Herman was a pioneering rock disc jockey in the late 1960's and 70's, when he began experimenting with free-form rock music programming, something that was novel at the time on FM radio, according to Paul Heine, a senior editor at Inside Radio, an industry trade publication. Herman worked at Philadelphia's WMMR and later worked for decades as a morning DJ at New York City's WNEW, where he remained until 1998, Heine said.

``WNEW was one of the most watched stations in the country in its 70's heyday, and he was a cornerstone of the legendary rock radio air staff there,'' Heine said.

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(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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