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Click and Clack no more: Tom Magliozzi of NPR’s ‘Car Talk’ dies at age 77

It is a sad day for everyone from dyed in the wool gearheads, to birkenstock-wearing public radio members: Tom Magliozzi, co-host of Car Talk, has died. The much-beloved radio personality is reported to have died from Alzheimer’s complications at the age of 77, according to NPR.

Along with his brother Ray, Tom Magliozzi is best known for hosting the long-running public radio show Car Talk. The show, widely acknowledged as one of – if not the most – successful public radio production, ran from 1977 (national broadcasts began in 1987) until 2012.

During that time, the Magliozzi brothers, known as “Click and Clack” provided sage car advice, and sometimes not-so-sage life advice. The show was particularly successful at reaching out to non-car enthusiasts.

However, there was substantially more to Tom Magliozzi than his voluble on air personality. Magliozzi graduated from MIT with a degree in engineering, and taught college courses, before launching a career as an auto mechanic.

Along with his brother Ray, a fellow MIT grad, Magliozzi opened a do-it-yourself repair car shop Hackers Heaven. This shop would set the two on their eventual path to Car Talk, by giving them the chance to educate novices on how to repair their own vehicles.

Magliozzi was offered a chance to get into radio by happenstance when he was asked to participate in a panel of auto mechanics by local public radio station WBUR. He was the only one who showed. However, according to long time Car Talk producer Doug Berman, the station liked what Magliozzi did so much they invited him back. From there the show took off.

The Magliozzis stopped producing new episodes of Car Talk in 2012, but reruns continue to air. According to Berman, Ray Magliozzi would like to see this tradition continue in tribute to his late brother. Tom Magliozzi is survived by his wife and two children.  He will be missed.

(Photo credit: NPR)