US radio host who regretted vaccine scepticism dies of Covid

FILE - In this Thursday, May 14, 2009 file photo, Conservative talk show host Phil Valentine talks with Martin Weiss author of Surviving the Depression on his show in Nashville, Tenn. Valentine, a conservative talk radio host from Tennessee who had been a vaccine skeptic until he was hospitalized from COVID-19 has died, Saturday, Aug. 21, 2021. He was 61. (John Partipilo/The Tennessean via AP, File)
FILE - In this Thursday, May 14, 2009 file photo, Conservative talk show host Phil Valentine talks with Martin Weiss author of Surviving the Depression on his show in Nashville, Tenn. Valentine, a conservative talk radio host from Tennessee who had been a vaccine skeptic until he was hospitalized from COVID-19 has died, Saturday, Aug. 21, 2021. He was 61. (John Partipilo/The Tennessean via AP, File)

(AP) - A conservative talk radio host from Tennessee who had been a vaccine sceptic until he was admitted to hospital with Covid-19 has died. He was 61.

Nashville radio station SuperTalk 99.7 WTN confirmed Phil Valentine’s death in a tweet on Saturday.

Mr Valentine had been a sceptic of coronavirus vaccines. But after he tested positive for Covid-19, and prior to being admitted to hospital, he told his listeners to consider, “If I get this Covid thing, do I have a chance of dying from it?” If so, he said, they should be vaccinated.

FILE - In this Wednesday, April 15, 2009 file photo, Phil Valentine takes the stage as Tea Partiers show up in mass on the War Memorial Plaza in Nashville, Tenn. Valentine, a conservative talk radio host from Tennessee who had been a vaccine skeptic until he was hospitalized from COVID-19 has died, Saturday, Aug. 21, 2021. He was 61.  (Larry McCormack/The Tennessean via AP, File)
FILE - In this Wednesday, April 15, 2009 file photo, Phil Valentine takes the stage as Tea Partiers show up in mass on the War Memorial Plaza in Nashville, Tenn. Valentine, a conservative talk radio host from Tennessee who had been a vaccine skeptic until he was hospitalized from COVID-19 has died, Saturday, Aug. 21, 2021. He was 61. (Larry McCormack/The Tennessean via AP, File)

He said he had chosen not to get vaccinated because he thought he probably would not die.

After Mr Valentine was moved into a critical care unit, Mark Valentine said his brother regretted that “he wasn’t a more vocal advocate of the vaccination”.

“I know if he were able to tell you this, he would tell you, ‘Go get vaccinated. Quit worrying about the politics. Quit worrying about all the conspiracy theories’,” Mark Valentine told The Tennessean newspaper on July 25.

“He regrets not being more adamant about getting the vaccine.”

Phil Valentine had been a radio personality since he was 20 and became a popular conservative host by railing against a state income tax proposed by Republican then-governor Don Sundquist, the Tennessean reported.