As a radio king, movie star, best-selling author, and television personality, Howard Stern has weathered a lot of storms in his day, but the passing of his beloved 10-year-old bulldog, Bianca, is probably one of the toughest.
Yesterday afternoon, Stern’s wife, Beth Ostrosky-Stern , broke the news to her Twitter followers that their dog had passed a short time ago with a heartbreaking post, “we lost our precious bianca today. my sweet little girl, may you rest in peace. i love you forever.”
Word spread pretty fast, of course, and before long, Stern’s legion of fans were expressing their shock along with their condolences.
Stern, you see, isn’t someone people take lightly.
Over a wildly successful career that has seen him go from local disc jockey to one of the most powerful icons of American radio, Howard Stern has amassed a following, me among them, of hard-core dedicated fans who know that his brilliant wit and intelligence far eclipse the school-boy prankster-isms that most non-listeners associate him with. And for the last decade, since he began dating Ostrosky ( a noted animal advocate who campaigns regularly for a multitude of animal shelters and groups), Stern’s outspoken love and affection for his bulldog, along with his fascination for her, was a regular topic of conversation on his daily radio show.
This morning, after judging America’s Got Talent on live prime-time TV last night just hours after hearing of Bianca’s passing, Stern once again proved to be one of the hardest-working people in show biz when he hit the air for his Sirius satellite radio show. His voice as somber as I have ever heard it, he paused quite a few times as he reflected on Bianca’s life and how much she had meant to he and his wife. At times, it was evident that Stern’s long-time co-host/sidekick, Robin Quivers, had to pick up the rare slack when Howard was overcome with emotion.
I’m telling you all this from my personal point of view today for one reason, really.
I am what you might call a Super Fan of Howard Stern and his career.
From the time I was 16 until now, no movie/no band/no book/no anything that American pop culture has ever produced has brought me even half as much joy and laughter and thought-provoking insight; nothing has ever made me cringe one second and have to pull my car over to the side of the road in utter hysterics the next minute; no other person who I have never met/ probably never will meet has ever made me realize that life is something to be laughed at in order to live it as best as we can.
Howard Stern is one of my all-time heroes and his long-time radio presence in my life has had a huge influence on who I am today.
And last night, as my wife, Monica (another Super Fan, I’m proud to say) and I heard the news of Bianca’s death, as we sat on the couch drinking a couple of cold beers and talked about how much we knew he really really loved that dog, in the same way we love our two hairy dorks, I felt real and genuine grief for the man and his family.
I felt the kind of sadness you usually feel when something cuts much closer to the bone, closer to home.
So, I wanted to write this. And so I did.
Howard Stern Tweeted out to his legion of fans yesterday evening.
‘Tough day today my friends. Thanks to all for all the kind messages,” he wrote.
Then he added,” Give your dog a hug for me tonight.”
So, I did that too.
Rest easy, Bianca.
Image: Howard Stern
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