Jerry Springer, the legendary talk show host and former mayor of Cincinnati, has died. He was 79.

Springer’s family confirmed his death to several media outlets Thursday morning, saying in a provided statement that he died peacefully Thursday at his home in the Chicago suburbs. While most famous for his popular, and at times controversial, talk show, The Jerry Springer Show, Springer wore many hats over the course of his life, including actor, producer, lawyer and politician. He served as the 56th mayor of Cincinnati from 1977 to 1978. Springer’s namesake TV show featured a three-ring circus of dysfunctional families willing to bare all on weekday afternoons including brawls, obscenities and blurred images of nudity.

At its peak, The Jerry Springer Show was a ratings powerhouse and a U.S. cultural pariah, synonymous with lurid drama. Known for chair-throwing and bleep-filled arguments, the daytime talk show was a favorite American guilty pleasure over its 27-year run, at one point topping Oprah Winfrey’s show.

Springer called it “escapist entertainment,” while others saw the show as contributing to a dumbing-down decline in American social values.

“Jerry’s ability to connect with people was at the heart of his success in everything he tried whether that was politics, broadcasting or just joking with people on the street who wanted a photo or a word,” Jene Galvin, a lifelong friend and spokesman for the family, said in a statement to NBC affiliate WLWT5. “He’s irreplaceable and his loss hurts immensely, but memories of his intellect, heart and humor will live on.”