James ‘Radio’ Kennedy dies at 73


James Robert “Radio” Kennedy hugs T.L. Hanna teacher Vinnie Dill after he arrived at a screening of the movie “Radio,” based on his lief, Thursday, Oct. 23, 2003, in Anderson, S.C. (AP Photo/Mary Ann Chastain)

ANDERSON, S.C. (WSPA) – James Kennedy, also lovingly known as “Radio” has died at age 73.

Radio passed away on Sunday morning, according to McDougald Funeral Home in Anderson.

Many knew Kennedy as the inspiration for the Hollywood movie “Radio,” which was based on his life.

James Robert “Radio” Kennedy walks on the red carpet in his hometown as he arrives for a screening of the movie “Radio,” which is based on his life, Thursday, Oct. 23, 2003, in Anderson, S.C. (AP Photo/Mary Ann Chastain)

For decades, he’d been a part of the football program at T.L. Hanna High School.

The mentally challenged man showed up on football field in the mid-1960’s and has been an integral part of the school ever since, T.L. Hanna sports blog shared. He was a teenager at the time, with a transistor radio seemingly attached to his ear.

He could barely speak and had never learned to read or write. He was nicknamed “Radio” by the coaches and players. He became a fixture at football practices.

“The community, they just love Radio,” coach Harold Jones previously told WSPA, “I mean, everybody loves Radio.”

Prior to his death, Kennedy had been hospitalized.

Services will be arranged by McDougald Funeral Home.

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