His death was announced by SuperTalk 99.7 WTN on Saturday afternoon after Phil Valentine had been battling the virus for more than a month.
“We are saddened to report that our host and friend Phil Valentine has passed away,” the station posted. “Please keep the Valentine family in your thoughts and prayers.”
Phil Valentine, 61, had been in the hospital for more than a month with COVID-19. In late July, his family disclosed that he was in “very serious” health, suffering with “covid pneumonia” and other side effects.
He was placed on a ventilator days later.
Phil Valentine was a prominent voice on Nashville radio for decades. Valentine began working full-time on talk radio in 1995, but in 2000, he gained national attention by assisting in the organization of horn honking protests in Tennessee against a proposed state income tax.
Valentine previously expressed opposition to mask mandates and the COVID-19 vaccine, writing in a blog post last December that he was not an anti-vaxxer but was following logic by refusing to be vaccinated.
“I’m not an anti-vaxxer,” he wrote. “I’m just using common sense. What are my odds of getting Covid? They’re pretty low. What are my odds of dying from Covid if I do get it? Probably way less than 1 percent. I’m doing what everyone should do and that’s my own personal health risk assessment. If you have underlying health issues, you probably need to get the vaccine. If you’re not at high risk of dying from Covid then you’re probably safer not getting it.”
Phil Valentine was diagnosed with COVID-19 on July 11. Days later he was admitted to the hospital.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee addressed Valentine’s death Saturday evening on social media: “Maria and I are deeply saddened by the loss of Phil Valentine and pray for his family as they navigate the difficult days ahead.”
A short time later, U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn issued a statement: “Phil Valentine was a visionary for the conservative movement. He made an enormous impact on the lives of many Tennesseans as an esteemed radio host, actor, and author. It was a privilege to know Phil, and I know his legacy will endure. 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.”
U.S. Senator Bill Hagerty posted to Twitter: “Very sad news for our state! Tennessee has lost a strong conservative voice who will be sorely missed. Chrissy and I extend our condolences and deepest sympathies to the entire Valentine family, Phil’s many friends, and his colleagues and faithful listeners at @997wtn.”