A very different Farrel, 65, told friends to get vaccinated as he struggled with the virus. He died Wednesday, WPTV reported
“COVID took one of my best friends! RIP Dick Farrel. He is the reason I took the shot,” Farrel’s close friend Amy Leigh Hair wrote on Facebook. “He texted me and told me to ‘Get it!’ He told me this virus is no joke, and he said, ‘I wish I had gotten it!'”
Farrel’s partner, Kit Farley, said on Facebook that he was “known as the other Rush Limbaugh. With a heavy heart, I can only say this was so unexpected. He will be missed.”
Lee Strasser, former market general manager for CBS Radio West Palm Beach who hired Farrel in the 1990s, called him “flamboyant, outrageous at times, and willing to take on any and all comers.”
Farrel — a right-wing shock-talk pioneer born Farrel Austin Levitt in Queens — was a fervent Donald Trump supporter who railed about COVID-19.
In early July, he called the vaccine “Bull Shid” in a Facebook post. Later he wrote: “Why take a vax promoted by people who lied 2u all along about masks?” He claimed Democrats were plotting to make it seem like the pandemic was ongoing as part of a power grab. He called COVID-19 a “scamdemic.”
Hair told NBC affiliate WPTV: “I was one of one the people like him who didn’t trust the vaccine. I trusted my immune system. I just became more afraid of getting COVID-19 than I was of any possible side effects of the vaccine. I’m glad I got vaccinated.”
Florida broke the record for the most new COVID-19 cases in a day on Friday — 23,900 — for the third time in the week.