Jerry Springer, the one-time Mayor of Cincinatti who rose to fame as the host of the most notorious TV talk show of the 1990s, has passed away aged 79.

No cause of death has been given at this time, although according to The Mirror Springer had in recent months been diagnosed with cancer.

Born February 13th, 1944 at the Highgate station on the London Underground, Springer’s family emigrated to the US when he was four. He grew up in Queens, New York, and majored in political science at Tulane University, Louisiana, leading him to initially pursue a political career.

He served as a campaign advisor to Robert F. Kennedy, but following Kennedy’s assassination he moved into law. He also unsuccessfully ran for Congress in 1970, before serving on the city council and eventually as mayor in Cincinatti.

After dabbling in broadcasting in his earlier years, Springer moved further into this field in the 80s, until in 1991 he began hosting his own talk show, simply entitled Jerry Springer.

Credit: Brenda Chase via Getty

Pitting him against talk show giants Oprah Winfrey and Ricki Lake, Springer’s show quickly gained notoriety – and high ratings – thanks to his tendency to cover sensationalist topics, with larger-than-life guests. Violence, exhibitionism and frequently beeped profanities became common occurrences, making Jerry Springer provocative viewing.

Despite widespread controversies, Jerry Springer remained on the air all the way until 2018. Outside of this, Springer hosted other shows including Judge Jerry and Britain’s The Springer Show, as well as serving as a judge on America’s Got Talent. He also guest-hosted Britain’s This Morning and Have I Got News For You, and appeared as himself in episodes of sitcoms Roseanne and Married with Children. So great was his cultural impact, Springer also inspired a controversial musical, Jerry Springer: The Opera.

While he was always a divisive figure, there can be no question that Jerry Springer left a lasting mark on the face of television. We extend our deepest sympathies to all who knew and loved him.