Late-night legend Johnny Carson, who lulled America to sleep for nearly 30 years as host of NBC's Tonight Show, died Sunday of emphysema at his Malibu, Calif., home. He was 79. "Mr. Carson passed away peacefully early Sunday morning," his nephew, Jeff Sotzing, told The Associated Press. "He was surrounded by his family, whose loss will be immeasurable." The news caught the showbiz world off guard. "Like the rest of the country, I'm stunned," Oprah Winfrey told reporters gathered at the Television Critics Assoc. winter press tour in Los Angeles. "He's one of the greats of our time." In a statement, Carson's Tonight Show sidekick Ed McMahon said, "[Johnny was] like a brother to me... [We] created a friendship which was professional, family-like and one of respect and great admiration." After doing his final show on May 22, 1992, Carson vanished from the public eye. His absence only seemed to elevate his status as a TV icon. "One of the things I admired most about him," added Winfrey, "was he left and he was gone." But by no means forgotten.
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