James 'Radio' Kennedy, the inspiration behind the Cuba Gooding Jr. hit Radio, has died at 73

James ‘Radio’ Kennedy, the inspiration behind the Cuba Gooding Jr. hit Radio, has died at the age of 73

James ‘Radio’ Kennedy, the inspiration behind the 2003 tearjerker Radio, has passed away at 73.

His death was announced by longtime supporter and high school football coach Harold Jones on Sunday.

The South Carolina coach told TMZ: ‘He was just a fine man. We all loved him. We will miss him incredibly.’

RIP: James 'Radio' Kennedy, the inspiration behind the 2003 film Radio, has passed away at 73

RIP: James ‘Radio’ Kennedy, the inspiration behind the 2003 film Radio, has passed away at 73

Kennedy, who was mentally challenged, inspired legions of people with his unshakable spirit. 

He attended Anderson, South Carolina’s T.L. Hanna High School as an unofficial 11th grader since 1965, where be became a fixture at local football games.

He rose to national prominence with a 1996 Sports Illustrated story about how he inspired his small town by his unwavering positivity and resilience.

He was a local icon who was inducted into T.L. Hanna Athletic Hall of Fame in 2016. 

James was dubbed Radio because of the trusty transistor radio that accompanied him nearly everywhere through the years. 

Kennedy had been in and out of the hospital for complications related to diabetes according to NBC’s South Carolina affiliate WYFF. He was recently moved into hospice care.

Though his life he struggled with various health issues, including pancreatitis, diabetes and kidney issues.

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