Eric Lynch, Howard Stern's diminutive foil, dies

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Eric "The Actor" Lynch, whose fear of werewolves, love of professional wrestling and angry, often foul-mouthed rants endeared him to fans of Howard Stern's radio show for more than a decade, has died at age 39.

Lynch died Friday at the University of California, Davis, Medical Center in Sacramento, his longtime friend and agent, Johnny Fratto, told The Associated Press on Monday.

Lynch, who stood just 3 feet tall and used a wheelchair to get around, had suffered for years from numerous height-related health problems.

He said doctors had told his parents he likely wouldn't live past the age of 14.

"I loved Eric. I truly loved him," Stern said Monday on his radio show. "What I loved about him was here was this guy afflicted with every ... thing on the planet, you couldn't have gotten worse luck dealt to you, and Eric didn't view it that way."

Lynch, a huge "American Idol" fan, first called Stern 12 years ago to complain angrily that the shock jock had ridiculed contestant Kelly Clarkson's appearance.

As the calls persisted, many of them foul-mouthed, insulting rants directed at Stern himself, an unlikely friendship blossomed between the two.

Stern, meanwhile, gave as good as he got, attempting to persuade Lynch to be attached to balloons so he would hover over his recording studio. Another time, he took part in a prank to convince Lynch that werewolves really did exist in New Mexico, where Stern was sending him for a small part in a TV show.

Like other members of Stern's so-called Wack Pack of oddball callers and in-studio guests, Lynch landed several TV roles over the years. His credits included "In Plain Sight," ''Fringe" and "American Dream," and he was a guest on "Jimmy Kimmel Live."

"I think the fact that Eric had no respect for you whatsoever was what I liked about him," Kimmel told Stern during Monday's show.

Despite the rants and insults, delivered in Lynch's instantly recognizable raspy voice, he embraced life to the fullest, said those who knew him.

"Most people in Eric's condition would be bitter, but Eric loved life," Stern said. "He loved watching TV, he loved celebrities, he loved show business, he loved wrestling."

Lynch, who lived in Sacramento, is survived by his parents and a brother.

Fratto said funeral services will be private.

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