Conservative radio host who regretted vaccine skepticism dies of COVID-19

Conservative radio host Phil Valentine has died of COVID-19 after expressing skepticism toward vaccines and later saying he regretted not being inoculated. 

Nashville, Tenn., radio station WWTN, which broadcast "The Phil Valentine Show," announced his death on Saturday. He was 61 years old.

"We are saddened to report that our host and friend Phil Valentine has passed away. Please keep the Valentine family in your thoughts and prayers," the radio station tweeted.

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Tennessee lawmakers also expressed their condolences online after Valentine's death was reported.

"Phil Valentine was a visionary for the conservative movement, and he made an enormous impact on the lives of many Tennesseans," Sen. Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnTikTok, Snapchat executives to make Capitol Hill debuts Senator asks Facebook's Zuckerberg to testify at hearing on kids' safety TikTok, YouTube, Snapchat executives to testify at Senate hearing on kids' safety MORE (R-Tenn.) tweeted. "My deepest condolences and prayers are with Phil’s wife, Susan, and his family. May they be comforted and surrounded by love during this difficult time."

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Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) wrote on Twitter that he and his wife "are deeply saddened by the loss of Phil Valentine and pray for his family as they navigate the difficult days ahead."

Valentine was placed in a critical care unit last month after contracting COVID-19.

He had expressed skepticism toward the vaccine, though his family shot back at suggestions that he was an "anti-vaxer."

"Phil would like for his listeners to know that while he has never been an 'anti-vaxer' he regrets not being more vehemently 'Pro-Vaccine,' and looks forward to being able to more vigorously advocate that position as soon as he is back on the air, which we all hope will be soon," his family said at the time of his hospitalization.