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Tom Magliozzi Dead: Car Talk Host, Older Brother Dies at 77

Tom Magliozzi
Tom Magliozzi, one of the beloved co-hosts of NPR's Car Talk died Monday, Nov. 3, after battling Alzheimer's disease.

Tom Magliozzi, one of the two brothers who co-hosted NPR's beloved Car Talk radio program, died Monday, Nov. 3, after battling Alzheimer's disease. He was 77.

NPR first shared the news of the show host's death along with a message from Tom's brother Ray Magliozzi. "It's with great sadness that I have to report to you guys the passing of your longtime radio companion and my older brother, Tom," Ray, 65, wrote in a note posted to Car Talk's blog. "We can be happy he lived the life he wanted to live; goofing off a lot, talking to you guys every week, and primarily, laughing his ass off."

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Car Talk has long been one of the network's most popular programs, with the Magliozzi brothers (both MIT grads) doling out advice to callers with questions about, well, cars. Listeners would often ask about questions ranging from what vehicles were most appropriate to buy for teens, to weird odors to dispel from cars, and more.

After graduating from MIT, Tom worked as an engineer but eventually quit his job. Instead, the fascinating figure became a "Harvard Square bum," an inventor, and an auto mechanic. "Making friends, philosophizing, thinking out loud, solving people’s problems, and laughing his butt off" were Tom's favorite achievements, Ray told NPR.

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What made the program worth tuning in to was the brothers' boisterous laughter which oftentimes was heard on air. "His laugh is the working definition of infectious laughter," Doug Berman, Car Talk's producer told NPR of Tom. "Before I ever met him, I heard him, and it wasn't on the air."

The program first debuted in 1977 and NPR added it to its lineup in 1987. In October 2012, the Car Talk hosts retired, but the NPR continued airing broadcasts, which the network said has continually remained at the top of ratings.

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"He and his brother changed public broadcasting forever," Berman added of the Magliozzi brothers. "Before Car Talk, NPR was formal, polite, cautious….even stiff. By being entirely themselves, without pretense, Tom and Ray single-handedly changed that, and showed that real people are far more interesting than canned radio announcers. And every interesting show that has come after them owes them a debt of gratitude."

Tom is survived by his siblings Ray and Lucille, as well as his first wife, Julia Magliozzi, his second wife Joanne, and his children Lydia, Alex, and Anna.

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