Joey Boots, a beloved member of radio shock jock Howard Stern’s popular “Whack Pack” radio crew, has died according to reports from TMZ and Page Six. Boots, whose real name was Joseph Bassolino, was 49.
“A rep for the NYPD tells TMZ cops responded to Boots’ Bronx apartment building at 9:45 PM for a male in need of medical attention,” TMZ reported.
“We’re told once emergency workers arrived, Boots was pronounced DOA.”
According to TMZ, High Pitch Erik, another Whack Packer, went to Boots’ apartment to check on him after he became worried when Boots failed to show up for work.
— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) December 24, 2016
TMZ quoted a Facebook post from “people associated with the podcast” as saying Erik asked the building manager to conduct a “wellness check” when Boots didn’t answer his door. They then found Boots inside the apartment “sitting in a chair, cold to the touch and with no pulse.”
Boots became “a fan favorite” on Howard Stern’s popular SiriusXM radio show over the years, Us Weekly‘s Nicholas Hautman says in an article on Boots’ death. Joey Boots was particularly known for shouting his catch phrase “Baba Booey” during broadcasts.
TMZ adds that the catch phrase became so well-known that Boots even had to defends his right to “yell it” in a “landmark court case.”
Fans and colleagues immediately took to social media to eulogize Boots upon hearing of his death.
“Joey Boots wasn’t a Wack Packer to me…he was a genuine friend,” Memet Walker, a staffer on The Howard Stern Show, said in an Instagram post of a picture of him and Boots together.
“I’m gonna miss you like hell, buddy.”
JD Harmeyer, the head media producer for The Howard Stern Show, echoed Memet’s sentiments on Twitter, saying of Boots, “He was a true Stern Show soldier. R.I.P. @JoeyBoots.”
— JD Harmeyer (@jdharm) December 24, 2016
Howard Stern tweeted about Boots’ passing to his 1.7 million followers on his official Twitter account, calling Boots the “one and only Joey B” and saying “he will be missed.”
Tribute to the one and only Joey B in the new year. He will be missed. #BabaooeyHowardSternpenis
— Howard Stern (@HowardStern) December 24, 2016
“His body showed no signs of trauma and it’s believed he died of natural causes,” sources told Page Six.
“The city medical examiner will determine his cause of death.”
Joey boots was known to suffer from diabetes and it is presumed that he died of natural causes.
The Howard Stern Show began in 1986 when it still aired on terrestrial radio. In 2006, it switched over to the SiriusXM satellite radio network and has remained exclusive with that network since.
The show remains one of the most popular on SiriusXM, despite (or due to) its often raunchy and controversial subject matter. Stern has been known to openly flirt with female guests of the show.
“The Howard Stern Show is still the single most important piece of content that SiriusXM has—and the most expensive,” Barton Crockett, an analyst with FBR Capital Markets, told Bloomberg in 2015.
“I think he’s worth every penny. It would be great for them if they can keep Howard Stern.”
Crocket estimated that “Stern’s contract costs his employer about $80 million a year.”
There is no word yet on funeral arrangements or memorial services for Joey Boots. One thing is certain, The Howard Stern Show and the Whack Pack will not be the same without him.
[Featured Image by Getty Images/Stringer]