In a somber announcement on SiriusXM’s The Howard Stern Show, the iconic radio host revealed that his longtime friend and stylist, Ralph Cirella, had passed away at the age of 58. Cirella, a New Jersey resident, had been battling a rare lymphoma, and tragically, his heart gave out on a Tuesday morning.
Howard Stern, visibly emotional, expressed his frustration over the circumstances surrounding Cirella’s demise. Stern disclosed that the illness was treatable and curable, but complications arose due to delayed intervention. “I really feel he got involved a little too late,” Stern lamented, clearly grappling with the pain of losing a dear friend.
In a poignant tribute during Wednesday’s episode, Stern shared memories of their enduring friendship, saying, “Lord knows I loved Ralph.” He admitted that he was unprepared for Cirella’s untimely departure and emphasized the profound difficulty of losing someone you love.
Ralph Cirella‘s journey with Howard Stern began in 1985 when he called into Stern’s WNBC radio program. The two formed a unique bond, highlighted by their collaboration on a memorable penis puppet for a New Year’s Eve event at the NYC Felt Forum. This collaboration led to Cirella’s role as a special effects artist on Stern’s late-night variety show, The Channel 9 Show.
Cirella’s contributions extended beyond special effects, as he became Stern’s personal stylist, wardrobe consultant, and set designer for decades. Despite a brief stint hosting The Friday Show on Howard 100 radio, Cirella is best remembered for his engaging guest appearances and lively call-ins to The Howard Stern Show. His infectious laughter and humorous anecdotes made him a fan favorite.
Stern revealed that Cirella played a pivotal role in the show’s iconic opening catchphrase, “hey now,” inspired by The Larry Sanders Show. Additionally, Cirella’s influence extended to Stern’s personal life; he credited Ralph for introducing him to his wife, actress Beth Ostrosky Stern, recalling how Cirella encouraged him to attend the party where they first met.
The Howard Stern Show paid tribute to Cirella on social media with a touching homage, featuring a slideshow of photos accompanied by the caption, “It just seems impossible that he is gone. Bye, for now, Ralph.” Longtime friend John Stamos also shared a heartfelt tribute on Instagram, describing Cirella as a one-of-a-kind soul who was more than just a friend – he was family.
Stamos reminisced about meeting Cirella during his tenure as a makeup artist on Stern’s Channel 9 show, highlighting Cirella’s exceptional talent. Recalling their final exchange, Stamos shared a poignant story about someone acknowledging his luck in being friends with Ralph from The Howard Stern Show. In conclusion, Stamos expressed deep sorrow at the loss of his dear friend, emphasizing the lasting impact Cirella had on those fortunate enough to know him.
The passing of Ralph Cirella leaves a void in the world of The Howard Stern Show, and fans and friends alike mourn the loss of a beloved contributor and friend. His legacy lives on through the laughter and memories he shared with Howard Stern and the countless listeners who grew to love his infectious spirit.