Dick Farrel, a former right-wing radio host in Florida and anchor on Newsmax TV, died Wednesday of complications from Covid-19, NBC affiliate WPTV of West Palm Beach reported.
“He was known as the other Rush Limbaugh. With a heavy heart, I can only say this was so unexpected. He will be missed,” Farrel’s partner, Kit Farley, wrote on Facebook, according to WPTV.
“He fought like a tiger. Please don’t put off getting attention for this illness,” Farley wrote on Facebook. “Yes, for some it has minimal effects, but others it is deadly. We will always love Dick Farrel, always appreciate his spirit, and miss him greatly.”
Farrel was a vocal and staunch advocate against the coronavirus vaccines, which he posted about on social media, once calling them “bogus.” He also railed against figures like Dr. Anthony Fauci, whom he called a “lying freak.”
However, after he contracted Covid-19, friends said, Farrel’s attitude about the vaccines and the virus changed, WPTV reported.
“COVID took one of my best friends! RIP Dick Farrel. He is the reason I took the shot. He texted me and told me to ‘Get it!’ He told me this virus is no joke and he said, ‘I wish I had gotten it!'” Amy Leigh Hair, a friend of Farrel’s, wrote on Facebook.
Farrel was born Farrel Austin Levitt on Aug. 1, 1956, in New York City. He graduated from Queens College before going on to pursue a radio career, according to his obituary.
He first began working in Long Island before he took a job on the morning show on WVIP-FM in Westchester, New York. He later moved to West Palm Beach, where he worked for a number of South Florida radio stations, including WIOD of Miami, WPBR of Palm Beach, WJUP-FM of Jupiter and WFLN of Arcadia, according to his obituary.
He also was an anchor for Newsmax TV, the obituary said.
“Farrel will be greatly missed by all that knew and loved him,” the obituary reads.
Kalhan Rosenblatt is a reporter covering youth and internet culture for NBC News, based in New York.