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Korea’s oldest TV talent show host dies aged 95

(Photo: KBS)

Veteran Korean TV host Song Hae, who hosted KBS’ National Singing Contest for more than 34 years, has died in Seoul at the age of 95.

In April this year, Mr Song won a Guinness World Record as the oldest TV music talent show host. At the time he said he planned to stop hosting the singing contest because of his failing health.

He tested positive for Covid-19 in March and was hospitalised twice this year for unspecified reasons, most recently in May.

Mr Song hosted the KBS show from 1988, becoming an icon of Korean television and earning the nickname “the nation’s emcee”.

Despite the global popularity of K-pop and the many other musical talent shows on air, his singing contest remained the highest-rated musical show in Korea.

Mr Song was born in 1927 in present-day North Korea. He worked as a comedian, actor and radio DJ until joining the National Singing Contest as host at the age of 60.

In an interview with KBS in January, he said of his career: “Everyone I have met on National Singing Contest is my life’s cherished fortune. I don’t have much, but they say the richest people in life are those who have been blessed to meet many different people from all walks of life.”