CHICAGO, March 28 (UPI) -- Wally Phillips, the beloved retired WGN-AM Chicago radio personality, has died in Naples, Fla., at age 82, his former station announced this week.
The Chicago Tribune said Phillips had suffered from Alzheimer's disease for the past several years.
For more than two decades, Phillips had the Windy City's highest-rated morning radio program that offered news, weather and traffic reports, as well talk and doses of its host's trademark humor.
"If Wally was a baseball player, you'd walk him on four pitches every time," longtime Chicago radio executive Jeff Schwartz told the newspaper. "You didn't compete with Wally. Wally owned it."
Phillips took over an afternoon slot on WGN after he left his morning show in 1986. He retired from the station in 1998, but continued to preside over a weekly two-hour program on WAIT-AM.
The Portsmouth, Ohio, native, who was raised mainly in Cincinnati, also helped found the Neediest Kids Fund in 1969. Originally created to provide holiday gifts for children, the fund has evolved through the McCormick Tribune Foundation into a charity that has raised $35 million.
Phillips is survived by his wife, Barbara; a son, Todd, and daughters Holly and Jennifer Tzitzon.