NPR 'Car Talk' Co-Host Tom Magliozzi Dies at 77

The popular host died of complications from Alzheimer's disease.

The popular radio personality, with his signature Massachusetts accent, hosted "Car Talk" since the show first started in 1987.

Tom was joined on the program by his brother Ray on the weekly show, which earned a Peabody Award in 1992. The show featured jokes, as well as advice for listeners who called in about car issues.

"His laugh is the working definition of infectious laughter," Doug Berman, a producer of "Car Talk" told NPR today after news of his death broke. "I'd just hear this laughter. And then there'd be more of it, and people would sort of gather around him. He was just kind of a magnet."

A native of East Cambridge, Massachusetts, Tom Magliozzi finished his undergrad at MIT and eventually earned an MBA from Northeastern and a doctorate from Boston University. Magliozzi first worked as an engineer, but later decided it was time for a change and quit his job.

He consulted and worked part-time as a college professor, eventually opening his first do-it-yourself repair shop, named Hacker's Haven in 1973, with his brother Ray, 65

The brothers' first experience on the radio talking cars came in the late 1970s when they were invited to speak on a panel for a talk show about mechanics on Boston's WBUR.

After WBUR liked what Tom had to offer, they welcomed the brothers back on a weekly basis before the show went national with NPR in 1987.

"Listeners loved their blend of humor, passion, expertise and just plain silliness," NPR wrote today in Tom's obituary.

Berman told the site that the brothers' popularity wasn't about cars, but "the guys' personalities. And Tom especially — really a genius."

In 2012, NPR announced "Car Talk" would not be airing anymore after almost 25 years.

"With older brother Tom turning 75 this year, the guys decided it was time to 'stop and smell the cappuccino,'" the site said at the time.

NPR added in 2012 that the weekly show would still be in circulation, based on past material from the 25 years of archives. Today, Berman said Ray would like the archived shows to keep running in honor of Tom.