How did Big Daddy Graham die? Injury which left him paralyzed explored as popular radio host passes away at 68

Radio icon Big Daddy Graham has passed away at the age of 68 (Image via Getty Images)
Radio icon Big Daddy Graham has passed away at the age of 68 (Image via Getty Images)
Barsha Roy

Legendary radio host Big Daddy Graham passed away on Wednesday, September 8, 2021, at the age of 68. The news of his passing was confirmed by his WIP radio co-host, Glen Macnow:

“I learned last night of the passing of my friend Big Daddy Graham. A gem of a man. A diamond in the rough. A funny, hard-working and quirky sweetheart of a guy with no filter. My pal, my co-author. We will all miss him.”

According to the Sun, broadcaster Angelo Cabaldi also opened WIP radio’s Thursday morning show with the tragic announcement:

"WIP lost one of its best people, and this city lost one of its cherished, most talented entertainers. We all here at WIP are devastated by the news."

Although no immediate cause of his death was revealed, Big Daddy Graham has suffered from several critical health issues in the past. In July 2019, the media personality suffered a terrible blood vessel burst after spending an enjoyable day at the beach with his family.

The radio host required emergency spinal surgery as the vessel ruptured and bled into his spine. Unfortunately, the injury left him paralyzed from the waist down. During an old interview with Mike Jerrick, he opened up about the difficulties related to his condition:

“I don't want to say I'm giving up hope… Everybody’s reaching out. But it still sucks. I can’t get up and get something to eat.”

Following the incident, Big Daddy Graham was confined to a motorized wheelchair. He also became dependant on his wife and close friends for daily life activities. However, he continued to fight the battle with positivity and optimism:

"I've had a wonderful life, a long wonderful life already. If this is it, man, I have no complaints."

The recording artist was previously diagnosed with throat cancer amid other health problems. His daughter Ava has decided to carry forward the legacy of his radio show following his demise.

A look into the life and legacy of Big Daddy Graham

Big Daddy Graham was an American radio show host, recording artist, comedian, writer and actor (Image via Getty Images)
Big Daddy Graham was an American radio show host, recording artist, comedian, writer and actor (Image via Getty Images)

Edward Gudonis, best known by his stage name Big Daddy Graham, was an American radio show host, recording artist, comedian, writer and actor based in Philadelphia. He was associated with 94.1 WIP radio as a sports broadcaster for more than two decades.

He started his career as a stand-up comedian and continued to perform at clubs, colleges and parties for nearly 35 years. He gained immense popularity with his show Two Funny Philly Guys alongside comedian Joe Conklin.

The show was played in prominent theaters like the Borgata Music Box in Atlanta City and The Broadway Theatre in New Jersey. Before joining 94 WIP station, he was a co-host on 1210 AM’s The Sports Attack. He also recorded Big Daddy Graham’s Classic Rock Throwdown podcast for Wildfire Radio.

He garnered a huge fanbase during his long tenure at WIP radio with his unique sense of humor, unusual statements, eccentric conversations and sometimes a few wild stunts. He was voted Philadelphia’s funniest comedian nearly 15 times by various publications, including the Philly magazine.

Big Daddy Graham went on to appear in A&E, Showtime and MTV. He was also featured in Fox’s Good Day Philadelphia once a week. His Big Daddy’s Big List was also seen on Comcast SportsNet’s Philly Sports Talk.

He also ventured into writing during his career. His book Last Call sold more than 30,000 copies across Philadelphia. He later turned the book into a one-man show, performing at the Society Hill Playhouse and the Media Theatre.

Big Daddy Graham even performed on stage productions like The Odd Couple, Androcles and Lion, among others. He previously contributed to the City Paper and CSNPhilly. He was also writing for South Jersey Magazine, 7 Mile Magazine and the Sea Isle Times before his demise.

More recently, he co-authored The Great Book of Philadelphia Sports Lists with Glen Macnow. The book sold over 40,000 copies. The radio icon was born on May 29, 1953 and graduated from West Catholic High School.

Unfortunately, the legend passed away on September 8, aged 68. He is survived by his wife Debbie, two daughters, Kelly and Ava, and two grandchildren.

Big Daddy Graham has been helmed as one of the most-loved radio personalities of all time. He will be deeply missed by loved ones but his legacy will always be remembered by family, friends and colleagues.

Edited by Ashish Yadav
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