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Legendary rock DJ Jim Ladd dies, aged 75

Legendary rock DJ Jim Ladd has died, aged 75.

The disc jockey and host of SiriusXM’s classic rock radio station died on Sunday (December 17) at his home in Los Angeles. The news of his passing was shared by the radio station, which took to X/Twitter to share a statement with fans.

“Radio icon Jim Ladd, who for over 50 years championed classic rock and interviewed many of the greatest artists in his Los Angeles studios and on SiriusXM’s Deep Tracks channel, passed away on Sunday, December 17,’ the update read.

His colleague, Meg Griffin, also confirmed the news at the beginning of his free-form music show Deep Tracks yesterday (December 18).

Ladd launched his career in radio back in the ‘60s, and went on to become a highly influential figure in the music industry. His first job was at a small rock station in Long Beach called KNAC, before he later moved to stations in Los Angeles including KLOS and KMET. The latter saw him become recognised by listeners as ‘The Mighty Met’.

From there, he took the role as host for the KLSX station, before famously joining SiriusXM back in 2012 – hosting the classic rock station for over a decade until his death.

As well as his DJ roles, Ladd was also known as the inspiration behind Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ 2002 album ‘The Last DJ’, and later received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2005 in recognition of his achievements.

Following news of his death, numerous famous faces from the entertainment world have taken to social media to pay their respects to the DJ. These include The Doors’ online accounts, who described Ladd as having an “electric persona and cool voice” and being “an essential part of the culture of rock & roll”.

“Jim’s legendary interviews with Ray, John and Robby on The Doors and Morrison were later released as NO ONE HERE GETS OUT ALIVE, which still stands as the most definitive interview in the history of the group,” it added. “Rest easy, Mr. Ladd.”

Fellow SiriusXM radio host Eric Alper also paid tribute, writing: “There goes the last DJ who plays what he wants to play and says what he wants to say.” Rock author Greg Renoff, meanwhile, stated that he was “so sad” to hear of the loss and shared footage from one of Ladd’s interviews.


The official Tom Petty X/Twitter page added: “Tom respected and admired Jim Ladd and considered him a friend. He inspired the song ‘The Last DJ’ and his insights into rock and roll were priceless. Jim’s voice will be missed on the airwaves. Our family joins his in mourning his loss.”

Similarly, Peter Frampton shared a message too, writing: “Our entire family are so saddened to hear of the passing of Jim Ladd. He was our good friend always a champion of great music. A special man with a huge passion for music. Our thoughts are with his wife, Helene and family. Love you Jim.”

Find more tributes to the DJ below.

As well as having a prolific career in music, Ladd also took on various roles across the film industry too – including the role of an all-night DJ in Cameron Crowe’s 1989 film Say Anything….

He also went on to have cameos in major motion pictures such as Tequila Sunrise, Rush, She’s Out of Control, and Defendor starring Woody Harrelson, as well as sharing the semi-autobiographical book Radio Waves: Life And Revolution On The FM Dial in 1991.

He is survived by his wife, Helene Hodge-Ladd.

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