Art Laboe Dead At 97

MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty Images

Leena Nasir Entertainment Reporter
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Radio pioneer Art Laboe died from pneumonia with close friends by his side at his Palm Springs, Florida home Friday night.

Joanna Morones, a spokesperson for Laboe’s production company, Dart Entertainment, confirmed Laboe’s death. The DJ had battled pneumonia for two weeks prior to his death, according to TMZ. He is credited for coining the phrase “Oldies but Goodies,”  and was deeply entrenched in the world of radio for most of his life.

Laboe was born Arthur Egnoian in Salt Lake City to an Armenian-American family amid the Great Depression. He changed his name to Laboe after serving in World War II, according to City News and moved Los Angeles, where he quickly developed his own sense of style.

He was one of the first DJs to play rhythm and blues and Rock ‘n Roll in California, according to City News. Laboe is recognized as being a huge force in Southern California’s desegregation movement. His live DJ shows attracted a multicultural fanbase and encouraged people of all ages, ethnicities, and walks of life to band together. (RELATED: Coolio Dead At Age 59)

Laboe got his start in the industry at 18 years old with San Francisco’s KSAN radio, according to TMZ. He started taking requests and dedications, which wasn’t common practice at the time. He was the mastermind behind live DJ shows at drive-in movie theaters and played rock ‘n’ roll music that attracted diverse audiences.

Eventually, Laboe honed in his talents to become a record producers, concert promoter, and radio station owner.

His shows were incredibly popular, and his fan-base continued to grow over the span of his very long career, according to TMZ. His final show was produced last week and broadcast to the public Sunday night, according to CityNews.

He was 97 years old at the time of his death.