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Fez Whatley Dead: What Was Radio Host’s Cause of Death?

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Fez Whatley Dead: What Was Radio Host’s Cause of Death?

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Fez Whatley was a radio host known for co-hosting “The Ron and Fez Show” in Florida and New York. He died on Friday, August 13, 2021, at the age of 57.

What was his cause of death? He died of heart failure, according to The Wrap.

His death was confirmed by Ron Bennington, who hosted the radio show with him and who revealed Whatley had died in an Instagram post on August 14, 2021. Whatley was born in 1964, according to Bennington’s post.

According to The Wrap, Whatley was born in Florida as Todd Hillier and started in radio on “The Ron and Ron Show.” His late program with Bennington aired on WKRO in Daytona Beach and WNEW in New York, the site reported.

Here’s what you need to know:


‘His Heart Finally Gave Out,’ Bennington Wrote

Bennington revealed that heart issues took Whatley’s life.

“We lost our sweet Fez Whatley last night,” he wrote in the Instagram post.

“His heart finally gave out. We are devastated, but we will always remember the laughter through our tears. Our thoughts are with his family who loved him the most and with the people who knew him as a voice on the radio. #fezwhatley.”

Fans offered tributes in the comment thread on Bennington’s Instagram post:

“So sad to read about this. So sorry for your loss friends.😢”

“Thinking of you. I’m so sorry for your loss, your family’s loss, Fez’s family loss and for all those who loved him. ❤️”

Opie Radio wrote, “Fez was a Rockstar and will be horribly missed. I look back fondly to the days of WNEW when we all had the radio world by the balls. RIP FEZ. Ron please make sure you take care of yourself during this difficult time. Love ya bro.”

“Oh my god I’m so so sorry. The joy he brought to your lives brought joy to our lives. Love you all so much.”

“I feel like I grew up w Fezzy. I’ve listened to him for half my life. I’m crushed. Thinking about this family and The Benningtons. I know y’all loved him so much 💔”

“Oh, no! The joy that man brought to so many of us. I’m so sorry for your loss. Keeping all of you in my prayers.”

“No words. I’ve ‘known’ Fez for decades on the radio. RIP big cat. And much love to the Bennington family.”


Whatley Retired From Radio After Coming out as Gay in 2012 & Experiencing Depression & Anxiety

Whatley’s heart problems were no secret; in fact, Bennington had given fans updates on his Instagram page, even sharing photos of Whatley in a hospital bed.

“Fez had another massive heart attack this week,” he wrote on Instagram in March 2021. “He flatlined on Tuesday, but was able to be revived by doctors. He spent a few days on a ventilator and is now breathing on his own. His sister snapped these pics of him while he was on the vent, and Fez is oddly proud of them.”

In addition to heart problems, Whatley had suffered for years with anxiety and depression, according to The Interrobang.

The final “Ron and Fez Show” aired on April 3, 2015, after Bennington announced his retirement on April 1, and Whatley announced at the time that he was also retiring from radio, The Interrobang reported at the time. He told listeners, “I am retiring from radio. Not just radio, but the most important thing ever in my life, the Ron and Fez Show,” according to the outlet.

“After spending the last 20 years playing a gay character on-air,” Whatley came out as gay on February 24, 2012, on-air on his SiriusXM show, The Interrobang reported.

“I realized I was just like the character I had created. I’m gay,” he told the outlet. “Coming to this realization was devastating. … Fez Whatley was no longer a character I played on the air. He was me. And now it wasn’t funny anymore. I was now everything that I had joked about. I got depressed. I became severely anxious and couldn’t perform any longer. … And most of all, I couldn’t make myself be Fez Whatley anymore. … I was terrified about being really gay.”

Whatley told The Interrobang that he wanted to work openly on “too many important issues out there facing Gay Americans.

“I can’t be a part of ‘It’s gets better’ until I make sure things are going to get better for me. And that’s what I intend on doing.”

In 2014, Whatley wrote an opinion piece for The Interrobang criticizing the NFL and the St. Louis Rams after defensive end Michael Sam, an openly gay man, was cut from the team “despite a more than impressive season.”

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