James ‘Radio’ Kennedy Dead at 73: Reports

December 15, 2019 Updated: December 15, 2019

The inspiration for the movie “Radio,” James “Radio” Kennedy, has died at age 73, it was reported.

Former T.L. Hanna High School football coach Harold Jones said he died on Sunday morning, USA Today reported. The high school is located in Anderson, South Carolina.

His niece Jackie Kennedy confirmed to WYFF that he was hospitalized on Saturday and died on Sunday morning. His cause of death wasn’t disclosed.

“He was just a fine, fine man,” Jones said. “We all loved him. We will miss him incredibly.”

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James Robert “Radio” Kennedy enters the stadium before the start of the Florida State Seminoles v the Clemson Tigers game at Memorial Stadium in Clemson, S.C., on Nov. 8, 2003. (Photo by Craig Jones/Getty Images)

He first showed up at T.L. Hanna’s games during the 1960s and was nicknamed “Radio” because he always had a transistor radio with him. Kennedy developed a close relationship with Jones.

He “got national attention back in 1996 when Sports Illustrated ran a story about Radio and the football coach, Harold Jones. The story highlighted how the town of Anderson, South Carolina accepted him,” TMZ reported.

The 2003 film “Radio,” starring Cuba Gooding Jr., was about his life.

“Radio was the heart and soul of T.L. Hanna for over 50 years, and the impact he made in our community can’t be overstated,” Kyle Newton, a spokesman for Anderson School District 5, told USA Today on Sunday. He will be missed, but his legacy will live on in the countless lives he touched.”

“He was without a Harvard degree or Pulitzer Prize or professional sports contract, but his fame surpassed all those accolades,” former T.L. Hanna principal Sheila Hilton wrote, as reported by the paper. “And the story is simple: love and compassion can change lives. It has changed his, and, in return, he has changed ours. And we are better people for having known him.”

Notable Celebrity Deaths in 2019

Ric Ocasek

Ric Ocasek
Musician Ric Ocasek and model Paulina Porizkova attend the 20th Anniversary Celebration of the Children’s Defense Fund’s Beat the Odds Program at Guastavino’s in New York City on Dec. 6, 2010. (Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

Eddie Money

Musician Eddie Money performs on stage during the iHeart80s Party 2017 at SAP Center
Musician Eddie Money performs onstage during the iHeart80s Party 2017 at SAP Center in San Jose, Calif., on Jan. 28, 2017. (Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images)

Peter Fonda

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Peter Fonda in a 2009 photo. (Glenn Francis of www.PacificProDigital.com via Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license)

Beth Chapman

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Duane ‘Dog the Bounty Hunter” Chapman (L) and Beth Chapman attend the Vettys Presidential Inaugural Ball at Hay-Adams Hotel in Washington on Jan. 20, 2017. (Teresa Kroeger/Getty Images)

Doris Day

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Actress and animal rights activist Doris Day poses for photos after receiving the Cecil B. DeMille Award she was presented with at the annual Golden Globe Awards ceremony in Los Angeles on Jan. 28, 1989. (AP Photo)

John Singleton

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John Singleton attends the 90th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood, Calif., on March 4, 2018. He died in late April after a stroke. (Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)

Nipsey Hussle

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Nipsey Hussle and Lauren London in Los Angeles, on Feb. 7, 2019. The rapper was shot dead in late March. (Gregg DeGuire/Getty Images)

Luke Perry

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Undated file photo of Luke Perry. (Newsmakers)

Peter Tork

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Peter Tork of the Monkees died at 77 in Feb. 2019. (Noel Vasquez/Getty Images)

Albert Finney

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British actor Albert Finney died in Feb. 2019 at the age of 82. (Lucy Nicholson/AFP/Getty Images)