NEW YORK — Radio personality Joey Boots, a frequent contributor to “The Howard Stern Show” who was best known for the catchphrase “Baba Booey,” died Friday night in his Bronx home, according to the New York Police Department.
Boots, 49, whose real name was Joseph Bassolino, was found unconscious and unresponsive with no apparent trauma, a police statement said. He was pronounced dead, and the medical examiner will determine the cause of death.
Boots was known as one of Stern’s Wack Packers, “an odd collection of misfits and unique characters,” according to one Howard Stern biography. He popularized the phrase “Baba Booey” by shouting it on “The Howard Stern Show” and also behind reporters during live news broadcasts across New York City.
In addition to being a Stern regular, Boots had a live podcast called “The Joey Boots Show” on Friday nights.
On Friday’s podcast, “High Pitch” Erik Bleaman, a “Howard Stern Show” Wack Packer colleague, said he had bad news and asked to go off the air.
Seemingly emotional and shaken, he detailed how he entered Boots’ place with the building manager, only to find “Joey slumped over his chair. He was ice cold … and there was no pulse.”
The hosts then decided to end the show and call 911.
On Saturday afternoon, Stern tweeted: “Tribute to the one and only Joey B in the new year. He will be missed. #BabaooeyHowardSternpenis”
Tribute to the one and only Joey B in the new year. He will be missed. #BabaooeyHowardSternpenis
— Howard Stern (@HowardStern) December 24, 2016
Fans and other colleagues also took to social media to express their grief.
Brent Hatley, a senior producer for the Howard Stern Channels on Sirius XM, tweeted: “So sad to hear about the sudden passing of a great guy @joeyboots one of my favorites on @sternshow #RIPBoots”
Memet Walker, a “Howard Stern Show” contributor, wrote: “.@JoeyBoots wasn’t a Wack Packer to me… he was a genuine friend. I’m gonna miss you like hell, buddy.”
Other fans noted Boots was “a true Stern Show soldier,” the “greatest guy ever” and that “The Stern world seems different all ready without his looming presence.”
Police said Boots’ family had been notified.